How often do you think about your windshield? Almost never, except when it chips or cracks right? As easy as it is to take your windshield for granted, maybe you should appreciate this modern marvel a bit more.
Now before you start saying “It’s a piece of glass, big deal” let’s look at what people used before windshields. When cars first came out people wore bulky goggles to keep debris and rain out of their eyes. The rest of their face and body would be completely subject to insects, mud, dirt, rain, snow, hail, and anything else flying through the air. You’re right not many people had cars then but it was still a terrible solution to an impeding problem. Alright fine, windshields did come out shortly after cars really started to take off (pun absolutely intended) but there were some major issues with them.
Since glass lamination was yet to exist on any large or affordable scale yet, windshields were made out of a single sheet of pane glass. If you know anything about pane glass you know that when it breaks, it breaks into nasty razor sharp chunks that could kill someone. Sadly, that’s exactly what the problem was. When cars would get into accidents, the glass would almost be more dangerous than the impact itself.; not to mention how easily pane glass breaks. One hit by a stray pebble and the windshield would be majorly damaged and possibly shatter into those deadly pieces. Up until 1903 glass lamination hadn’t existed and people were stuck with dangerous single sheets of pane glass directly in front of their faces. In that fateful year however, two dudes named Eduoard Bendictus and John C. Wood invented separate glass lamination processes after a crazy lab accident with some glue type substance and a broken beaker. A few years after, each of the scientists filed a patent for “laminated glass” and changed the way glass was produced forever.
“Okay you made your point are we don…” OH CONTRAIRE! Windshields, forever revolutionized, have saved car owners THOUSANDS in repairs and prevented countless injuries. A pebble can now strike your windshield with minimal and repairable damage. In addition to the lamination, their ingenious curved shape helped improve aerodynamics and better deflect debris and increase gas mileage all while you happily sit in the climate controlled environment that is your car. So the next time your windshield cracks, chips, or shatters, give the repair man a little thank you and appreciate the importance their job has in your life. Without them you’d look like a fool out there in ridiculous goggles with dead bugs and mud all over your face.
Author: Ben Delamater