When it comes to cars, we typically first notice things like color, style and year. However, one of the most overlooked and important parts of a car is the glass. Auto glass has a rich history of research and development, and continues to evolve every year. Here are some fun facts about auto glass that you probably didn’t know.
1. Windshields Used to Be a Luxury Item
When the first automobiles started rolling out in the early 1900s, windshields were not standard. The windshield was an add-on item and consisted of a thin sheet of glass that could be folded down when it got dirty. Windshields increased the cost of a vehicle, and only the most wealthy car owners could afford this feature. Windshields became a standard automobile feature in 1915 when Oldsmobile started putting them on all their vehicles.
2. Shatterproof Glass Was Invented by Accident
French chemist Edouard Benedictus inadvertently invented shatterproof glass when he dropped a glass flask coated in cellulose nitrate. Benedictus noted that the glass didn’t shatter, but wouldn’t patent this invention for automobiles until 1909. The contribution of laminated, shatterproof glass greatly improved the safety of cars, and was also incorporated into the eyepieces of gas masks during World War I.
3. Windshield Wipers Were Invented by a Woman
Though many inventors had been working on cleaning devices for windshields, the credit and patent of wiper blades goes to American inventor Mary Anderson. Anderson was awarded the patent in 1903 for what she called a “window cleaning device.” The inventor of intermittent wipers whose frequency and speed can be controlled was Raymond Anderson in 1923.
4. Airbags Depend on Windshields
In many cases, auto airbags actually use the windshield to deploy properly. The glass assists to position the airbag properly upon impact. This is another reason shatterproof glass is so important, as well as having a well-installed windshield.
5. Windshields are the #1 Insurance Claim
Windshields account for about 30 percent of all auto insurance claims. From hail damage to cracks and chips, windshield repair is what policyholders most frequently claim. Since the windshield provides such a crucial level of safety for a vehicle, it’s beneficial that most insurance companies will assist in the cost of repairs or replacements.
6. Glass is Getting Smarter
Auto glass continues to improve throughout the ages. From adding special UV filters and tints to windows to protect interiors, to creating ways to easily fix small cracks with resin, car manufacturers realize that auto glass is an important component of vehicles. Smart cars, once a dream of the future, are now a reality, and auto glass is following suit. In the future, windshields could incorporate digital information like maps and directions for drivers to easily reference while driving.
Additionally, glass continues to become safer. Most vehicles now use Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) which help to alert the driver to nearby vehicles, road hazards and obstacles. The technology uses sensors that are primarily focused in the windshield. This means the auto glass repair industry will be changing as well. Instead of just fixing or replacing windshields, mechanics will now recalibrate technology to ensure that the safety features of “smart glass” are working properly to best protect drivers on the road.
From all of us here at Quick-Set Auto Glass, drive safely out there!