In the early days of the automobile, the windshield was considered a luxury by most car manufacturers and even drivers. It was one of the “add-on” features that increased the cost of the car and consisted of a horizontally-divided piece of glass so the driver could easily fold it down when it became too dirty to see out of.
As more cars were manufactured, a rise in accidents was inevitable. When involved in a crash, it was not uncommon to be injured by flying shards of glass or, far worse, lose their life after going headfirst through the windshield.
It wasn’t until 1903 that French chemist Edouard Benedictus accidentally encountered the secret to a shatter-resistant glass. As the story goes, he discovered this by accidentally dropping a glass beaker filled with cellulose nitrate (a clear plastic liquid). It cracked, but held its shape and never shattered. Further experimentation resulted in safety glass – two layers of plate glass with a layer of cellulose between them. Though Benedictus was granted a patent in 1909, it was too costly for automobile manufacturers. The product remained unused until World War I when the laminated glass was used in the goggles of gas masks. This paved the way for safer auto glass development in the 1920s.
Finally in 1937, the use of safety glass was required for all car models. Then in the late 50s, tempered glass was added to the side and rear windows. Besides saving on cost, tempered glass made it easier for rescuers to cut into a vehicle to free trapped passengers.
Windshields continue to grow in complexity and sophistication. There are even predictions that windshields will eventually clean themselves with nanodust particles. This could do away with windshield wipers altogether. Look out Jetsons; here we come!
In conclusion, always remember, if you need help replacing or repairing your windshield or any other glass on your car, call (918) 323-2527. We come to you, and most of the time, we have same day service.