5 Not So Well Known Facts About Windshields

Many drivers usually take windshields for granted. Maybe because you never really see them, just right through them. However, the history of windshields is actually quite interesting. Below are five facts that you might not know about windshields.

Early windshields were an extra feature for the affluent

Back in the early days, windshields were an extra feature for those who could afford them. Early cars didn’t have windshields and were completely exposed to the elements. Drivers that did not have windshields had it rough when they were driving in bad weather or when they were forced to drive against strong winds. In fact, many drivers used goggles to protect their eyes from dust while driving.
Car manufacturers added windshields after they started mass-producing cars. Most manufacturers, however, thought that windshields just helped in making the drive more comfortable. It was only later on that they realized that windshields also made cars safer.
 Windshields were initially made of normal, everyday pane glass

Early windshields were made of ordinary window glass. However, due to an increasing number of crashes, manufacturers sought ways to make windshields safer. The window glass was then replaced with hardened glass, which, unfortunately, could shatter from a single stone chip.

In 1919, Henry Ford used laminated glass in his cars. By 1929, glass laminating became standard on all Ford cars. The laminated glass Henry Ford used was actually invented by French chemist Edouard Benedictus.
In 1903, Benedictus knocked a glass flask as he was reaching for something on a high shelf. He noticed that the glass broke but had retained its initial shape due to a layer of liquid plastic enveloped on the flask. He used this principle for glass laminating.
Wipers were discovered by a real estate developer

In 1903, the same year Benedictus discovered glass laminating, real estate developer Mary Anderson visited New York City. There, she saw a trolley driver having a hard time seeing past the windows of his car because of the falling snow. When she returned to Alabama, she asked the help of a designer to conceptualize a hand-operated device to keep a car’s windshield clear. That same year, she applied and was granted a 17-year patent for the first model of a windshield wiper.

Two years after, Anderson tried to sell her invention but was rejected. After the patent expired in 1920, car manufacturers used her design to create standard equipment for a wiper.

Tint actually helps reduce damage to the windshield

Temperature is one of a windshield’s worst enemies. Extreme heat brittles the windshield making it more vulnerable to breakage. Some tint has special features that filter or repels UV rays, while others have a cooling effect.

Windshields are part of the airbag system

Modern airbags use the windshield as a trigger to deploy. The windshield acts as a “backstop” for your passenger-side airbag. The airbag deploys upward, bouncing off the windshield to protect the passenger from colliding headfirst into the glass. If your windshield is weak, it might not stand the strength of the airbag’s deployment, which could affect the airbag’s ability to protect you.

This is why it is important to have your windshields repaired or replaced by a professional auto repair shop, like Auto Glass Shop in Newmarket. Incorrect windshield installation or replacement could result in more danger during a collision.

Last Words
The evolution of windshields has come a long way — from being a luxury item to being an essential part of a car — but it definitely won’t stop there. A lot of innovations are being made for windshields. Nowadays, some even have detectors that automatically activate wipers when the windshield comes in contact with rain. Soon who knows?  One thing is for sure, these innovations are definitely worth keeping an eye out for.

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