A Brief History of Auto Glass.

Posted by Joshua on Thursday Sep 20, 2012 Under Auto Glass

The necessity of Auto Glass is dated to the early 1900’s predates several other modern automobile inventions and features. With the modern combustion automobile starting in the 1890’s the need for more significant protection than goggles became apparent as drivers attempted travel at higher speeds and in more inclement conditions than a sunny dry day.. As with most modern auto parts modern auto glass is fairly different than how it originated. Over the years, vast improvements have been made in windshield design and materials as well as windshield repair and maintenance.

The original windshields debuted in approximately 1904. They were made of heavy plate glass and, as the windshield wiper wouldn’t come for some time, got dirty very fast. Many of them were a two piece affair that simply folded down once they had gotten to filthy to see through allowing the driver an unobstructed view at the expense of protection from the elements. Plate glass was ultimately a poor design that often shattered and presented numerous safety issues of their own.

The safety concerns that plagued the early plate glass windshields lead to the invention of various types of safety glass over the early Twentieth Century. Variations arose from British and French scientists alike, mostly involving laminated glass or multiple panes of plate glass with a cellulose layer in between. In 1927 Henry Ford used a British glass called Triplex into his automobiles, this was effective but temporary as the layers would discolor.

By the 1950s wrap around windshields had become commonplace, as well as side windows and vents style windows. Vehicles had also moved into using a tempered glass for windshields and windows, was a huge improvement over previous plate glass variations. Tempered glass is heated to extreme temperatures and is dramatically more resilient to impacts and strains than plate glass. Perhaps even more importantly tempered glass doesn’t shatter in the same way plate glass does when an impact or stress factor does  cause major damage. It pebbles and maintains cohesion far better than even earlier laminated glass windshields.

Modern auto glass takes on a wide range of shapes and sizes. Custom windows, one sided wraps and a huge variety of shapes both functional and visual are commonplace. Modern windshields can feature internal powered defrosting components. Modern windows are a far cry from the flip down when dirty windshields of days past, in the U.S. powered windows are commonplace on most new models of cars rolling up and down with the touch of a button.

Modern glass offers another option that has become increasingly more popular.  Repair rather than actual replacement of broken glass components is not only commonplace, it’s easy. Auto glass repair is done both in the shop and at mobile locations and a wide range of business has sprung up around both options. Unlike the heavy panes of glass auto glass is relatively light and easy to work with. Making auto glass repair and replacement the easiest it has been in automobile history.

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