Glass Staircases for Aesthetic Lightness

Date: 5 November 2006
Glass stairs have become increasingly common during the last few years. This is partly due to architectural fashion, but, mainly, it is a result of considerable improvements that have been made in reference to the strength of glass used for structural purposes.

Although aesthetics play a considerable part in the choice of a glass stairway, there are some functional reasons why glass may be used.

At this year’s Glasstec Fair a lot of visitors were impressed by the staircase made exclusively of glass, an impressive 8.5 metres long self-supported unit. Many exhibitors presented various technologies and types of hardware on how to build glass staircases with maximum transparency and great load-bearing capacity. has collected some interesting photos found on the Internet, and also some interesting links where you can find interesting technical information on glass staircases.


Apple Stores – Glass Staircases

A unique and eye-catching feature of each of Apple's high-profile stores is the glass staircase, intended to attract visitors to visit the second floor, which most retail shoppers traditionally avoid.

Perhaps, not surprisingly, the staircase received a patent in 2002 with Steve Jobs' name first, followed by several others. The staircase design itself received a design patent, and the complex glass and hardware system received a separate technical patent.

One of several techncial diagrams submitted by Apple in 2002 to the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office in support of its application for a patent on the glass staircase design. This is a side view of the tread support hardware. Click here to download (pdf) a copy of the technical text and diagrams.


Glasstec fair:  the world’s largest free-span all-glass staircase

Photo: copyright © Rene Tillmann -

Photo: copyright © Rene Tillmann -

600450 Glass Staircases for Aesthetic Lightness
Date: 5 November 2006

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