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How were windshield wipers invented?

The windshield wiper was first invented in 1910. The first regular production automobiles had been on the roads since 1900, which means that cars were driving on roads in all kinds of weather for at least ten years without windshield wipers!

The idea for windshield wipers was born when the President of the Trico company in the United States was driving his car on a rainy day and, unable to see the road well because of the weather, he hit a boy on a bicycle. Though the boy was not hurt badly, the driver was considerably shaken by the experience. It was his shock at the danger of driving without seeing the road properly that brought about the birth of windshield wipers.

But a number of different methods were tried before the motor-driven wiper systems we are familiar with today came about. The initial windshield wiper design was one in which a rubber blade on the windshield was rotated manually.While this allowed the windshield to be cleared and forward vision improved, the operator's hand soon tired, and the design was abandoned. The next design was powered by a vacuum driven pump. Unfortunately this design was plagued by the fact that its speed of operation changed with the speed of the vehicle. This failure finally led to the attachment of a motor to the wiper arm, which is essentially the one still in use today.


The Changing Wiper Blade

- In search of a clear field of vision -

The Four-Point Support Wiper Blade (from 1937)


This blade design was a geometrical construction in which metal stays distributed the pressure against the windshield glass equally along the length of the blade using a primary lever, secondary lever and yoke. First appearing in 1937, this design had a strong influence on the designs that followed it.


The Aeramic Wiper Blade (from 1967)


In this design, the primary lever is given a triangular shape (when viewed in cut section) so as to allow it to operate normally even under the strong wind resistance pressures of high speed travel. Torsion springs were added to maintain even pressure over the entire surface of the windshield even when it is strongly curved. Designed to solved the problem of the wiper blade lifting off the windshield at high speeds, this type first appeared in 1967. The first vehicle to mount the Aeramic wiper blade system was a Mazda Luce produced by Toyo Industries in Japan. In addition to the new design the wiper received a new finish as well: the shiny stainless steel levers were given a matte finish to reduce glare.


The Speed Wiper Blade (from 1968)


New design concepts were introduced such as a wire primary lever in order to reduce blade wind resistance and keep the blade from rising off the windshield at high speeds. The first vehicle produced to include this "speed blade" innovation was a Mazda Cosmo produced by Toyo Industries.


Slim Wiper Blade (from 1976)


Blade wind resistance at high speeds was reduced yet further by another innovation called the "slim wiper blade," introduced in 1976 in answer to the increasingly stringent needs of modern automobile technology. At about the same time, in West Germany, a Spoiler wiper blade was developed that utilized wind resistance to improve wiper performance. It was this period that saw the greatest amount of innovation ever in the evolution of the windshield wiper.Blades also received better anti-glare finishing than ever before that improved driver vision, fit well with any type of coloring scheme and used corrosion resistant paint (black). Windshield wipers, once universally silver in color, now turned black.


Tournament Wiper Blade (from 1980)


Named after its metal blade fasteners that bear some similarity to tournament medals, the tournament wiper was introduced in 1980. It is designed to ensure an equal amount of pressure applied to the windshield along the entire length of the wiper.While the principle was known before the advent of this design and had appeared in others,the tournament design represented a quantum leap according to data for every performance class including the improved lever shape and high speed wiping performance.Since its inception, this design has been considered the standard upon which all wiper designs are based, and continues as such today.


Frameless wiper blade (it is popular now)

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