When you’re driving, the car windshield is one of the most important pieces of safety equipment. It keeps the wind and rain out of your face and keeps you from being hit by flying debris. But have you ever stopped to think about how it came to be?
The windshield has a long and interesting history, dating all the way back to the 1800s. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the milestones in its evolution and find out how it went from being a simple piece of glass to the multifunctional safety device we use today.
Early Windshields Were Made of Glass
When cars were first invented, the windshields were just simple pieces of glass. And as you can imagine, this created a lot of problems.
For one, the glass was constantly shattering. Drivers would get into accidents and their windshields would shatter, leaving them with dangerous shards of glass all over the place. Not to mention the fact that it was incredibly difficult to see out of a windshield that was made of glass.
Windshields made of glass also posed a serious safety risk for drivers and their passengers. If a car was in an accident and the glass shattered, there was a good chance that everyone in the car would get hurt.
The First Windshields Were Installed in 1903
You might be surprised to know that the first windshields were actually installed in cars in 1903. Back then, they were made of heavy glass and were pretty bulky. It was only in the 1920s that car windshields started to become more streamlined, thanks to the advent of safety glass.
Safety glass is made up of multiple layers of glass that are bonded together with a resin. This makes it stronger and more shatterproof than regular glass. And it’s thanks to safety glass that we’ve been able to make car windshields thinner and more aerodynamic.
So the next time you’re driving around and notice your car’s windshield, take a second to appreciate its long and fascinating history!
Windshields Became Standard Equipment in 1912
It wasn’t until 1912 that windshields became standard equipment in cars. That’s when the first windshield wiper was invented by Mary Anderson.
Mary Anderson was riding in a streetcar in Alabama when she noticed that the driver was having a hard time seeing through the rain and snow. So she came up with the idea of a device that would clear the windshield. And the first windshield wiper was born.
Tinted and Reflective Windshields Were Introduced in the 1950s
By the 1950s, car windshields had started to become more than just a piece of glass in front of the driver. They started to be seen as a way to enhance the driving experience.
And so two new features were introduced: tinting and reflective coatings. Tinted windshields helped keep the sun out of the driver’s eyes, and reflective coatings helped reduce glare.
These features soon became popular, and they’re still around today. In fact, tinted windshields are now mandatory in some states, like Arizona.
Laminated Glass Became Standard in the 1970s
A watershed moment for car windshields came in the 1970s, when laminated glass became standard. This type of glass is made up of two layers of glass with a thin plastic sheet in the middle.
What this did was make car windshields much more durable and difficult to break. In the event of a collision, the plastic sheet would actually crack instead of the glass, which meant that the driver and passengers would be safer.
And it’s not just cars that have benefitted from laminated glass. These days, you can find it in pretty much any type of vehicle, from busses to trains to boats.
Windshield Wipers Were Invented in 1903
Do you know when windshield wipers were invented? 1903! Can you believe that?
And they haven’t really changed all that much since then. Sure, they’re a bit more high-tech now, but at their core, they’re still the same basic design. That’s because they work really well!
The guy who invented them was named Mary Anderson. She was on a trip to New York City and it started to rain, so she took out her handkerchief to try and clean the windshield. But it was so dirty and obscured her vision, she couldn’t see.
That’s when she got the idea for windshield wipers, and patented the design a few years later. It’s a great example of how necessity is the mother of invention!
Car windshields have come a long way over the years. From simple panes of glass to the complex and sophisticated windshields we have today, they have become an essential part of the car.
While the first car windshields were made of simple glass, modern windshields are made of specialized materials that can withstand impacts and keep you safe in a crash. They are also treated with special coatings that help keep the interior of your car cool in summer and warm in winter.
Windshields have also evolved to become more esthetically pleasing, with a variety of shapes and designs available. Whether you want a traditional windshield or something more unique, there’s a option to suit your needs.
The next time you’re in your car, take a moment to appreciate your windshield and all it has to offer.