In a glass furnace solid batches of material are fed into a chamber and radiation heating applied. An individual batch is melted over the course of several minutes to form molten glass. A travelling front within the batch designates the progress of the melting, a process characterized by multiple radiation reflections. This results in an effective conductivity within the melting zone that is significantly larger than that in the unmelted batch. Approximations based on these disparate conductivities enable accurate explicit expressions for the almost constant melting front speed and the associated temperature profile to be derived. Our results compare favourably with existing numerical simulations of the process, with the advantage of being both analytic and relatively simple. These predictions may be useful in suggesting how a furnace might be most effectively controlled under varying batch conditions, as well as ensuring the quality of the glass sheets produced.