Select Page
Glass Surface Systems  Inc. coated light bulbs

Glass Surface Systems Coated Light Bulbs

After more than 40 years in business, Glass Surface Systems is closing. Over those 40 plus years, Glass Surface Systems specialized in coating light bulbs (lamps) to make the lamps shatter proof or to make them meet the requirements for very specific applications. Shatterproof coatings were placed on fluorescent, incandescent, and HID lamps. If the lamps were dropped or hit, the lamps would still break or shatter, but the remains of the lamp was safely retained inside the coating. Lamps coated for special purposes included lamps for food production, displaying food, and storing food in freezers. Other functional coating included gold coatings called GoldGuard. GoldGuard coatings limited the light emitted from fluorescent lamps, so no UV was emitted. Another coating application was Time-Glo Safety coatings, which are basically applying a glow-in-the-dark material to lamps.

Glass Surface Systems shatterproof T5HO lamps might be used in a light fixture like this

Glass Surface Systems shatterproof T5HO lamps might be used in a light fixture like this

The Era of Fluorescent Lamps and HID Lamps is Over

What has changed over the past 40 years? LED lighting has become the dominant lighting technology. Virtually all new light fixtures sold now are LED. Fluorescent lighting and HID lighting are things of the past, replaced by LED. Rising from a market share of about 5% in 2013, sales of LED lamps and fixtures have now increased to over half of global lighting sales. This will accelerate as countries pass ordinances banning the old technology. The EU has banned compact fluorescents and all general-purpose fluorescent lamps will be phased out in 2023. In the USA state legislators are phasing-out fluorescent lamps. A Vermont law signed in May 2022 will end the sale of 4-foot linear fluorescents by 2024.  Major brand names such as Acuity are no longer making fluorescent and HID light fixtures.

Glass Surface Systems coated Metal Halide lamps that were installed in high bay light fixturesGlass Surface Systems coated Metal Halide lamps that were installed in high bay light fixtures

Glass Surface Systems Sales Plummeted

Correlating with general lighting trends, sales of fluorescent and HID lamps with specialty coatings are falling at a rapid rate. As Glass Surface Systems coats and primarily sells coated fluorescent lamps, their sales have fallen to the point that it is no longer viable for Glass Surface Systems to remain in business.


GoldGuard Fluorescent Lamps are being replaced by No UV LED light fixtures

Gold coated fluorescent lamps like GoldGuard that filter out UV are being replaced by No UV LED light fixtures

What Comes After Glass Surface Systems?

GoldGuard No UV Lamps

Access Fixtures produces No UV LED light fixtures in multiple form factors. While over time coatings on gold tubes as they were known would break down, that can’t happen with no UV LEDs. No UV LED light fixtures never emit UV, emit more light, and last for a longer time.

Shatterproof Lamps

The days of worrying about a lamps shattering are over. LED light fixtures and most LED lamps are shock resistant, vibration resistant and some Access Fixtures LED light fixtures are bullet resistant.

Food Safe Lamps

Before LED light fixtures were ubiquitous, Glass Surface Systems produced food safe coated lamps. The coating ensured that if the lamp shattered, the food in the area would not become contaminated with glass, phosphorous and Mercury. Access Fixtures has a complete line of food safe LED light fixtures that will not shatter and don’t have any Mercury.

Induction Lamps

Induction lighting had a bright future, pun intended, until LED came along. Induction lamps do not have electrodes, so the lamps last 100,000 hours or more. Glass Surface Systems coated these lamps to make them shatterproof or for a specific application. LED decimated the induction lighting market and LED can now perform virtually any function the induction lighting was used for.

Time-Glo Coated Lamps

Time-Glo coated lamps are light bulbs with a coating that glows in the dark after the light bulb goes out. The intent is that when there is a power outage, there is still some light. Great idea, but it really didn’t meet code requirements for emergency lighting. Today most Access Fixtures LED light fixtures have optional 90-minute battery backup. It is more expensive than a coating, but it lasts longer, provides more light, and meets code requirements for emergency egress.


POPGUARD was a high temperature coating that made F54T5HO fluorescent lamps shatterproof. That might have been a good thing if you needed shatterproof lamps and F54T5HO lamps were actually a good choice for high heat environments, but regardless, fluorescent lamps are being phased out. Access Fixtures has high heat LED light fixtures that are inherently shatterproof.


POPGUARD was coating used on linear and u-bend fluorescent lamps including T5, T6, T8, T10, T12HO, T12VHO, U-Bend 3 inch, U-Bend 6 inch, and circle-line to make them shatterproof. Since fluorescent lamps are being phased out, the obvious choice is LED light fixtures which last longer, don’t contain Mercury, and are shatterproof.

Market Lite

Market Lite was a coating that lowered UV and made meat and vegetables look better when on display. Basically, it reduced some of the blue light emitted. Again, fluorescent is being phased out eliminating this as an option, LED is better. With most Access Fixtures LED light fixtures, you can choose the Kelvin and thus the spectrum of light. LED fixtures are shatterproof, and LEDs unlike fluorescent, perform well in refrigerated environments.

End of the Road for Glass Surface Systems

It’s always sad when a company like Glass Surface Systems primary products have become a thing of the past and the company is closing. Luckily for clients, technology has provided superior alternatives. If you have an application that used Glass Surface Systems products and need a viable alternative, speak with an Access Fixtures lighting specialist (800) 468-9925, or click here to have a lighting specialist get back to you.

Glass Surface Systems, GoldGuard, Market Lite, POPGUARD, and Time-Glo are registered trademarks of Glass Surface Systems Inc.. Access Fixtures LLC is not affiliated with, endorsed by, or sponsored by Glass Surface Systems Inc. or any of its affiliates or subsidiaries, and Access Fixtures LLC does not claim any ownership or rights in the Glass Surface Systems, GoldGuard, Market Lite, POPGUARD, or Time-Glo trademarks. Any use of the Glass Surface Systems trademark on this website or in any of Access Fixtures LLC’s materials is solely for descriptive purposes and does not imply any association with or endorsement by Glass Surface Systems Inc..