Ever wondered how long auto glass has been around? It’s been awhile!
During the early 20th century they began using glass to protect drivers in early vehicles. Of course, this glass was not adequate enough to really protect the driver like the auto glass on our vehicles today.
The Early Stages of the Auto Glass We Know Today
In 1903 a French chemist discovered the secret to shatter-resistant, laminated glass. The chemist, Edouard Benedictus, had knocked a flask off of his shelf by accident and noticed that, while the flask did break, the shattered pieces remained intact. This was because the flask was filled with cellulose nitrate. So Benedictus used this information to make a safer windshield, but it doesn’t show up on a vehicle until a few years later.
In 1904 we see the first windshield, which was a slab of horizontally-divided plate glass. But to have the windshield on your vehicle would cost extra!
Initially, automakers weren’t jumping on the safety glass bandwagon, but gas mask manufacturers did.
They replaced the eyepieces in their mask with the safety glass and they were highly effective. After seeing the lenses on these gas masks were now shatterproof, Benedictus’ safety glass was reconsidered for vehicle windshields, and it was introduced to vehicles in 1927.
Benedictus’ Safety Auto Glass Jumps to the Forefront
By 1929, nine out of 10 vehicles had wrap around glass to protect the driver and occupants from road debris and accidents, making driving a little more safe! The manufacture of safety auto glass made driving and/or riding in a vehicle more safe despite the weather conditions; therefore, it became more than just a means of necessary transportation.
In the late 1930s, automakers began using tempered glass in the side and back windows of vehicles. The glass gains its strength through a rapid heating and cooling process from the outer surface to its core. It’s an impressively strong glass but it’s also thin, and when impacted the glass crumbles so it’s less likely to harm a passenger.
Government Takes Control of Auto Glass Safety
Jump ahead to the 1960s and we see the Government becoming more involved in evaluating and calling for improvements to auto glass to make them safer. In 1966, it became standard for a vehicle to come with all-over auto glass.
And in the 1970s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was formed as the authority on all things related to vehicle safety. This administration holds glass professionals and car manufacturers responsible for providing strong and approved glass for all vehicles.
Information source: http://www.discountautoglass.net/blog/your-windshield-over-the-years