A Brief History of How Windshield Wipers Came About in NY

Windshield wipers are often overlooked, but they have a significant impact on your driving and overall safety. Most of us take our windshield wipers for granted, considering we only use them when it rains or snows. But can you imagine driving without them at all? Before the 1900s, the consideration of adding this tool in automobiles was nonexistent. However, the need for windshield wipers was always present.


The origin of this essential car feature is a pretty interesting and (somewhat of) an unfortunate story. In 1902, a lady by the name of Mary Anderson had an eye-opening experience while riding on a snowy path in New York City. Anderson noticed that her driver at the time was having a challenging time seeing through his windscreen; the driver continuously stopped the car to wipe off the windshield. As you may have guessed, the constant stopping made Anderson late to her plans and the method was ineffective. Suddenly, Anderson was set to develop this mechanism that would solve this problem for others alike.


Once she returned to her home in Alabama, she started working on ideas and concepts. Her invention was not called windshield wipers at the time, but instead, she called it a “window cleaning device”. To commercialize her idea, she applied for a patent in June 1903, and it was approved months later. 


Though she successfully got the patent, she had a tough time selling her product to the emerging automobile industry in the US. Men scoffed at Anderson’s invention, saying that the wipers would distract drivers and cause accidents. Some people believed her multiple rejections were solely due to the fact that she was a woman selling to a male-dominated industry. After many years of failed attempts, her patent expired. The commercialization of wipers was picked up later on. Anderson did not become rich and famous for her invention, but she lived long enough to see her idea evolve and become a universal item in cars.


Nowadays, it would be very odd to find a vehicle without windshield wipers. They play such a vital role in keeping us safe. Everyone should be thankful for this mechanism and remember to take care of their wipers. Car maintenance also includes replacing the blade at least once a year and refilling your wiper fluid. If you require new windshield wipers please come by Coventry Motors located in Huntington Station, NY.

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