The Interesting History of Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers are a small part of your car, but they have a significant impact on your driving and overall safety. Most of us overlook the importance of our windshield wipers, but can you imagine a world without them? Before the 1900s, the consideration of including windshield wipers in moving vehicles was obsolete. However, the need for them was always present. 

 

The creation of this essential device is a pretty interesting and (somewhat) sad story. In 1902, a woman named Mary Anderson experienced a revelation while riding on a snowy road right here in New York. Anderson noticed that her driver was having a hard time seeing; he continuously stopped the car to clean off the windshield. Naturally, doing this caused delay and was overall ineffective. 

 

Once Anderson returned to her hometown of Birmingham, AL, she started working on sketches. Her invention was not called windshield wipers at the time, but instead, she called it a “window cleaning device”. She then proceeded to apply for a patent in June 1903, and it was approved months later. 

 

Anderson did not expect to be in for a challenge afterward, as she had difficulty selling her product within the emerging automobile industry. People scoffed at Anderson’s invention, saying that the wipers’ movement would distract the driver and cause collisions. However, some believed her multiple rejections happened because she was an independent woman in a man’s world. Unfortunately, after many years, her patent soon expired. Even though she did not make a fortune from her invention, she lived long enough to see windshield wipers evolve and become a universal feature of all cars.

 

Nowadays, it would be highly unusual to find a car without windshield wipers. They are such an essential part of our vehicle to keep other people on the road and us safe. Everyone should be grateful for this device and remember to take good care of their wipers. Maintenance entails replacing the blade and topping off your wiper fluid whenever needed. If you need a windshield wiper replacement, we welcome you to come into Scruggs Automotive Repair.