Dining room table spontaneously "exploded"


On a recent Seattle morning, Adam Welch heard an crashing sound and saw broken glass everywhere. Turned out that his dining room had table spontaneously shattered. While spontaneous glass breakage is apparently a fairly rare phenomenon, there are several possible causes, according to Wikipedia. WCSH6 news took shards of Welch's table to Seattle Stained Glass for an expert opinion:

(Glass worker Justin) Ivy said if the glass has been damaged in the past, like a "deep scratch, a chip on the edge" that could cause problems.

"A hot pan, a bright sunny day, things like that, can cause thermal stress, and cause it to break. It can release that tension in the glass and cause it to just explode," Ivy said.

"Dining Room Danger: Exploding Tables"


  1. I had a pyrex baking dish explode once.  I had but some biscuits in it to bake and sat it on top of the stove to wait till the oven pre-heated.  I turned on a burner for skillet with some other food in it on the back burner. 
    Unfortunately the stove was new and I wasn’t used to it yet and I turned on the burner under the pyrex instead.  A few minutes later, luckily I had gone into the living room to wait for things to heat up, and I heard the glass explode. 
    Had glass all over the kitchen and dinner was ruined.

    1. Errr…  Sorry for your Pyrex glass but in your case, you heated something the wrong way. 100% completely different than something spontaneously exploding.

      1. Holy cow I will never buy Pyrex anything now. Sure it was “the wrong way” but I’d like to know in what universe is explosion an acceptable mode of failure for anything in the kitchen. What would happen if you or family are in the room when a table or tray explodes. Shiver.

        1. …I’d like to know in what universe is explosion an acceptable mode of failure for anything in the kitchen.

          You know they also make these knives that can cut HUMAN FLESH as well as meat & vegetables.

          They also haven’t figured out that boiling water problem as well.

        2. You might want to give up glass entirely, then. Pyrex makes some of the toughest stuff out there. Any glass will shatter if heated wrong.

          (I prefer glass or metal over plastic, since plastic reacts with food – so does metal, but not as much. I prefer it to metal when I bake, because it bakes more evenly. The risk of explosions is too small to bother me!)

          1. Corning should have really pushed the whole Visions line harder.  I remember the commercials in the late 80’s early 90’s where it showed a regular metal pot being melted in their ceramic glass pot.  Of course they can suffer from thermal shock and be prone to breaking if cracked or scratched.  It looks like with all the backlash over Teflon and plastics that people would like the idea of cooking on glass.

          2.  Pyrex sold their brand name to another company here a few years ago.

             The current stuff sold as Pyrex is not what most of us grew up using. It’s not as thermal shock resistant.

      1. Yep.  A Corelle platter accidentally set on top of a burner ruined a dinner at my house a few years ago. 

    2.  I had a pyrex baking dish explode in the oven once.  Proper use and everything.  Sounded like a bomb going off.  What a mess.  But I’ve only seen that happen once in decades of use of Pyrex.

      1. Pyrex has altered their manufacturing formula, the new heat-treated soda lime (cheaper) isn’t able to withstand temperature changes in the way the old Pyrex (borosilicate glass) did and now Pyrex regularly explodes. The older stuff does not.

  2. I helped a guy move a tempered glass double-pane window out of a truck once.  He touched his end to the steel bed of the truck.  It exploded.  One second you’re holding a window, next second you’re standing in a cloud of little bits of broken glass, pantomiming that you’re carrying a window.

    1. We once had a guy in our window factory break every rule of glass handling by carrying a door-panel sized sheet of toughened glass over his head, one hand in the middle of each long side… then it broke.  The panel had sheets of protective plastic film on each side which actually made the situation worse:  instead of falling onto the floor around him, the disintegrated-glass-sandwiched-between-plastic went limp and folded down over his head and body like a sheet, trapping him underneath.

      He wasn’t with the company for much longer…

  3. Liberal elite nonsense. If tempered glass develops a legitimate crack, the glass has ways to shut that whole thing down. 

  4. I had that happen in a restaurant once. I was helping the waitstaff move two glass-covered tables together for our party, and when the edges of the two tables gently touched, one of them exploded into neat little pebbles of glass that flew in all directions.

  5. Martha Stewart’s patio tables were notorious for doing this some 6 to 8 years ago. It’s not that rare if there’s a fault in the manufacturing or in the directions for upkeep. Martha’s instructions were to use car wax to keep up the appearance of the table’s metal parts. I always suspected that that played a role with many of the tables.

  6. I saw a youtube video a while back, homeowner explaining how they’d heard a big bang, and came out to find their patio door with a big crack in it. They were videotaping to document it for the insurance company when this ominous creeeeeeeeeeeeak sound started, and then BOOOM door was reduced to little saftey-glass blocks.

    And then they put it on Youtube, because duh. Wish I could find that video again, that was awesome.

        1.  David.  Why is exploded in quote marks in the headline?  (If it quacks like a duck…).    :)

  7. I’ve heard this happens a lot on the glass factories when they are cooling and tempering sheets of glass.  A certain number go kablooey and the chunks go back into the furnace. 

  8. My favorite part is the  place mat draped over the center post.  Makes it look like a set piece from a Penn & Teller routine.

  9. EDITOR!

    Umm, no WCSH6 did not take the glass and have it tested.  Why would a television station in Portland, Maine have anything to do with these event on the other side of the continent?  It was likely KING in Seattle who actually wrote the article, are credited as writing the article and did the investigative reporting were the ones who had the glass tested.

    Seriously, reading + comprehension skills, people. Sheesh.

    1. You know, if you keep up that level of rage, you’re likely to explode into little shards some day.

  10. This looks more like a shatter than an explosion. I don’t see any glass on the table near by.

  11. When I moved into my first apartment I bought a toaster oven with a curved glass door, which promptly exploded all over the kitchen the first time I used it. Luckily i wasnt waiting in there for the food to cook.

    Returned the toaster to the store and got an identical replacement, which is still going strong all these years later.. though I still won’t stand in front of it when it’s on.

  12. We were visiting my aunt and uncle for Thanksgiving, I think, and in the middle of dinner a glass vase right behind my sister simply exploded.  No reason at all, just crash.

    My father looked at my six-year-old sister, who was as white as a sheet and on the verge of hysterics, and said, “poltergeist.”   I don’t think she slept for a week.

  13. Tempered and heat strengthened glass can explode due to nickel sulfide inclusions, which are basically bits of nickel sulfide in the glass that change state slowly after being heated up during the tempering process. Because tempered glass is strong due to the fact that the outer layers are in compression and the inner in tension (kind of a two dimensional truss structure, when there is a small failure all the stored energy is released rather quickly. Interestingly enough, there was a rather spectacular failure of a large sheet of tempered glass in the dinosaur hall of the Museum of Natural History in NYC about a decade ago. You can actually go through the shattered dice of tempered glass that fails in this way and find the point of failure; it will create two round dice that meet at the point where the inclusion was, these dice are quite different than the rest of the pieces which tend to be square.

    1. My company built a hotel with glass shower doors, of which a few ‘spontaneously’ exploded. We had a glass guy sift through the wreckage but he didn’t find those cubes. After this happened a few times, we laminated the rest of the glass that was hanging and waited to see if any more broke. One more did but it turned out that it shattered into a million pieces because the glass was getting slammed into the adjacent wall.

  14. This shit happened to me once. I was helping my friend out with a stained glass project, we were using random scraps of glass, we found a big sheet of clear glass and we scored it to snap it, we gave it all we had, two people with their entire weight on this sheet of glass, nothing, we scratched our heads and laughed about the fact the glass could hold us up, just then we heard a crazy creaking come from the glass….BOOM! Glass bits everywhere. for the next 3 years every time I swept up my cabin I would find a piece. Tempered glass is no joke.

    1. Having worked in the glass and glazing industry for the last 16 years, no glass should ever be treated as a joke, but relatively speaking tempered/toughened glass is one of the safest types to be around – disintegrating into small granules rather than large jagged shards.

      Its major disadvantage (as you found out) is that it can’t be re-worked once toughened, so the size you get is the size you’re stuck with. 

  15. Had a glass table lamp base do that to me. BOOM!!!! in the middle of the night. Had a very sleepy WTF face looking at the broken glass all over the floor, yet, the rest of the lamp was still standing in the same place as if nothing happened.

  16. Our glass stove did this once, thankfully noone was in the room, but there was a loud BANG and when we came in, glass everywhere and no stovetop.

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