Something had been nagging at the back of my mind since I learned about Gorilla Glass, the durable, scratch-resistant material that provides the screens for iPhones, Android phones, and similar products with touch interfaces. It was only when I just read David Pogue’s article “Gorilla Glass, the Smartphone’s Unsung Hero” that it came to me–I’d seen something like it before, a long time ago.
Remember that episode of DuckTales when Gyro Gearloose invents “ProtectoGlass” to encase Scrooge’s Money Bin in the episode “The Unbreakable Bin”?
That episode aired on February 18, 1990, but it was based on a Carl Barks story (as many episodes were) about an unbreakable glass called “The Unsafe Safe,” which dates back to October of 1961. According to Pogue’s article, Corning released Chemcor, the forbear of Gorilla Glass, in 1962. So which came first, the duck or the egg? Or was it all just an amazing coincidence?
I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Apple builds one of their stores out of the stuff. Of course, neither ProtectoGlass and Gorilla Glass are indestructible. I’ve seen some shattered iPhone screens, which amazingly still work, but I have no idea what could cause such damage, and I still flinch whenever I drop my Droid.
(And just because it’s fun, here’s “Ian McKellan” reciting the DuckTales theme. It cracks me up every time.)