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Mar 23, 2008

Windshield Wipers

Did you know...
Before Henry Ford's Model A was manufactured, Mary Anderson of Birmingham, Alabama was granted a patent for a "window cleaning device" in November of 1903. Her innovative invention
could clean snow, rain, or sleet from a windshield by using a handle inside the car.
Her goal was to improve driver vision during stormy weather. This device was later
named "windshield wiper" which was a swinging arm device with a rubber blade that was
operated by the driver from within the vehicle via a lever.

By 1916 the manually driven windshield wiper became standard equipment on all American cars.

Meanwhile another woman inventor named Charlotte Bridgwood invented the first automatic windshield wiper. Charlotte Bridgwood, who was the president of the Bridgwood Manufacturing Company of New York, patented her electric roller-based windshield wiper called the "Storm Windshield Cleaner" in 1917. Her electric Storm Windshield Cleaner used rollers rather than blades and was electrically driven, freeing the hands for safer steering of the car.

But, her product was not a commercial success. It wasn't until a few years later, in 1923, that automatic windshield wipers became standard features on cars.

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