The windshield has come a long way since the 19th century, and the future will likely bring many more advances, where did it all start?
Many years have passed since the invention of the gas powered automobile in the 1890s but it wasn’t until about 14 years later that the first windshield in history was invented. That is many years with no protection at all. Drivers and passengers would wear goggles to protect their eyes from the weather or road debris while driving. At first, the windshields were made of two-pieced plate glass. When one layer became dirty, the driver would fold it down. This was realized to be dangerous as what happens when that piece became dirty.
New Windshield Technology
In 1919, Henry Ford employed a new windshield technology, which had a cellulose layer separating two layers of plate glass. This layer held the glass together on impact. It prevented the windshield from shattering in case of an accident or an object hitting the windshield. It did have a drawback – the cellulose became discolored over time.
In 1903 on a visit to New York City, Mary Anderson watched a driver struggle to keep his windshield clear during a snowstorm. The driver had to leave the car to clear the glass. Riders were not happy with the interruption of service. Mary came up with a swinging arm fitted with a rubber blade that the driver could operated from an inside lever. Electric wipers did not surface until the 1920s. (pictured is the patent)
It wasn’t until1934 that the curved windshield came into being, which decreased drag and improved aerodynamics. About 15 years later, tempered glass was used on side and rear windows. These windows could withstand terrific blows. This type of glass was not used on the windshields however. Laminated glass is what is used today. It’s composed of a plastic substance between two pieces of tempered glass.
Today, windshield installation is equally as important as the windshield technology itself. Windshields must be installed and bonded properly to help prevent injuries or ejection from the vehicle in the event of an accident.
Fixing chips and cracks in windshields is now much easier because of current technology. Many chips are simply fixed with an adhesive resin rather than replacing the windshield entirely. With the help of Ultraviolet lights much of the strength and integrity are restore to the windshield. Your windshield is your armor. It protects you from wind, debris, and sunlight, and is very helpful in the event of an accident. It holds up the roof and gives the airbags a backboard to deploy against.
The windshield has come a long way since the 19th century, and the future will likely bring many more advances. But for the here and now, remember to fix chips and cracks immediately because they greatly compromise the strength of your windshield. Also be sure you take your vehicle to a trusted professional because the modern windshield is only as good as the quality of installation.
At LP Auto Glass Orlando, we have certified technicians and offer a complete warranty on our service.