Glassbestos is in large part composed of exactly what one would expect, given the name. However, the product’s innovations lied in its application methods. It is indeed a mixture of glass fibers and asbestos fibers, but in one form it was woven into a tape. That tape made an effective insulator for wiring, pipes, and other uneven surfaces one might have wanted guarded from extreme cold or heat. As a flexible product that carries with it the properties of one of the strongest insulating materials known, asbestos, it proved extremely useful in the plumbing, heating, and construction fields when it was in use through the mid-twentieth century.
While kept in this bound and flexible format, the health risks usually associated with friable asbestos remain minimal. However, damaging the material in any way still poses the usual problems seen with asbestos-containing materials and should be avoided. It also is prone to fraying with age and can cause the same problems during this period, as its aged fibers no longer remain collected in a tight formation. Glassbestos was manufactured by Raybestos-Manhattan, major asbestos-manufacturing company known to have helped silence the negative impacts of this material.
Glassbestos provided a unique solution to a difficult part of insulation for a very long time. Flexible yet strong insulation materials are hard to find and this material worked well, were it not for the serious health risks associated with asbestos in general. One should still be sure to seek professional help in dealing with any existing glassbestos installations discovered in older buildings and homes. Individuals are encouraged to leave these materials untouched, allowing only a professional abatement company to fully remove the material, which has likely deteriorated and become even more dangerous with age.