HomeCar CultureToday in Automotive History: Windshield Wipers

Today in Automotive History: Windshield Wipers

A trip to NYC sparked the idea


Today in automotive history we look at an invention you probably don’t think about until you need them, and we bet you’re glad to have them! On November 10, 1903, Mary Anderson received a patent for her invention which would become the first windshield wiper.

While the Alabama native was on a trip in New York City in 1902, she noticed how dangerous it was that streetcar drivers had to open windows to see ahead in poor weather. This led to her designing a “window cleaning device.” Her invention was a manually operated lever on the inside of the vehicle that controlled a rubber blade on the outside of the windshield. The driver could move the lever to clear rain, snow, or any other obstruction on the windshield.

Automobile manufacturers and the public were slow to recognize the importance of windshield wipers, until the use of vehicles began to increase. But by 1922, Cadillac made windshield wipers standard on its cars. Mary Anderson received the credit she was due, and in 2011 was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.



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