Glass has revolutionized the world in a wide variety of ways and has proven to be invaluable in many industries, especially in the auto industry. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the auto glass industry has been advancing its research and evolution in the manufacturing of auto glass for the safety of drivers. Below are some facts about auto glass you might not have known.
1. Before glass, people used flattened animal horns for windows
Before glass was invented in the 17th century, people made windows out of flattened animal horn. Cow horn was less costly than glass and had been widely used in the middle ages to make actual windows. Cow horns were soaked in water to soften them, heated, and then cut into thin strips.
2. In the 1900s, windshields were not standard
When the first automobiles were released, the windshield (a fold-down pane of glass) was an add-on that only the more wealthy consumers could afford. In 1915, Oldsmobile started putting windshields on all of their vehicles.
3. Wiper blades were invented by a real estate developer
Mary Anderson was a successful real estate developer from Alabama who was awarded the patent for what she called at the time “a window cleaning device”, which later became known as wiper blades. Mary came up with a prototype consisting of spring-loaded wooden wipers with rubber blades. They were attached to a lever inside the vehicle that the driver could pull to release the arm and wipe away snow, rain, and debris.
4. The invention of laminated safety glass was a clumsy accident
In 1903, while working in his lab, French chemist Edouard Benedictus accidentally knocked over a glass flask. He noted that the flask did not shatter in pieces on the ground but instead stayed together with a spider-web-like crack in the glass. Turns out, the glass flask was coated with cellulose nitrate, a transparent liquid plastic, that had not been washed off. The shatter-proof glass was later patented by that same scientist in 1909.
Read More: 7 Interesting Facts About Laminated Glass
5. Those black dots have a purpose
Ever wondered what those small black dots around the edges of your windshield are there for? In the mid-1900s, car manufacturers began installing car windows with adhesive instead of metal attachments. The glue did the job but didn’t look very pretty. The solution was to cover it up using a black trim with a half-tone (dots) pattern. The trim and dots are made of ceramic paint and baked into the glass to ensure they do not deteriorate.
6. Rear and side windows are made from a different type of glass than the windshield
While the windshield is made from laminated glass, the rear and side windows are made of tempered glass – the same type of glass on your smartphone screen. Although it’s a strong glass, it can still shatter. Tempered glass is designed to break into hundreds of tiny fragments. This type of shattering lessens the risk of major injury and aids in the escape of the vehicle in case of fire.
Read More: Can Tempered Glass Break?
7. Auto glass is vital to a vehicle’s structural integrity and safety
The windshield doesn’t just protect you from weather conditions and outdoor debris while you drive. It offers around 30% structural support to a vehicle and is considered safety gear along with airbags and seatbelts. Auto airbags actually use the windshield to deploy properly since the glass assists in positioning the airbag properly upon impact. Even a small chip or crack in the glass can weaken its structural integrity, and consequently, negatively affect the structural integrity of the vehicle.
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