Al Capone, FDR, and the History of Bulletproof Glass

It might come to a surprise to you that bulletproof glass was actually invented by chance. Since its accidental discovery in 1903, bulletproof glass has undergone many changes and innovations. It’s also had a very storied history. For instance, did you know that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt actually used a Cadillac that belonged to infamous mobster Al Capone en route to his Pearl Harbor speech after the bombing?

Bulletproof Glass in American History

Al Capone CadillacThat’s right, the day after the Pearl Harbor bombing, tensions were high and there were plenty of security concerns about a potential assassination attempt on President Roosevelt. Because of that, Secret Service agents had 24 hours to come up with a solution to the threat. Unfortunately, the Sunshine Special (FDR’s usual method of transportation) wasn’t outfitted with security measures like bulletproof glass, and government policy didn’t allow for the expense of buying a new vehicle on such short notice. That’s when one Secret Service agent put on his thinking cap and remembered they had a viable alternative in storage.

As it turned out, The Treasury Department had one of Capone’s 1928 Cadillacs in storage because of his tax evasion conviction. The Cadillac was fully reinforced with bulletproof armor and glass and weighed in at 9000 pounds. President Roosevelt ended up using the Cadillac until the Sunshine Special was repurposed with alternate security measures.

The history of bulletproof glass is filled with interesting stories, and to help all of you understand the evolution of bulletproof glass, we created a new infographic called Bulletproof Glass Through The Ages.

Bulletproof Glass Through the Ages Infographic

In this infographic, you’ll learn about:

  • The precursor to bulletproof glass prior to its inadvertent discovery in 1903
  • How it was used in the two World Wars
  • How it has been used to protect historical figures
  • And More!

Hopefully, this historical look at bulletproof glance will help give you a better understanding of how it came to be. If you have any other questions about bulletproof glass, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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