History of auto glass: Evolution to safety

Remember those old cars? Most probably you would have seen them only in pictures and in art galleries among the vintage collection. There are so many changes automobiles went through before it arrived at what it looked like today. Inventions of new techniques and creation of new styles went hand in hand to take ahead the evolution of automobiles. This evolution is much like the human evolution throughout the years, but inly faster.

Back in those years when cars and other automobiles were just timely visitors on the road and not regular members, the windshield was considered to be a luxury. It made the cost of production of the vehicle shoot up and hence it was optional if you wanted to get a car with a windshield or not.

The windshields of that time were horizontally foldable and the drivers could just fold them down whenever they got too dirty. We need to remember that they were not fog resistant or dust resistant as they are now.

Also, having glass windows and windshields were considered to be something dangerous by some because if the vehicle bumped into something, and even if it’s just a slight crash, the glass would shatter and injure the driver and the passengers of the vehicle really bad. Imagine getting ice cones in your eyes; you could go completely blind! People were terrified at the thought of this.

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However, use of glass on the windshield and other parts of the automobile became very popular after the incorporation of shatter proof glass. Almost all the cars were manufactured with these shatter proof glass. In the early 20th Century, shatter proof glass became a major component of automobiles.In 1915, Oldsmobile started manufacturing automobiles with shatterproof glass and soon Henry Ford made sure that every vehicle manufactured by his company too has strong laminated windshields.

This type of glass was invented by French scientist named EdouardBenedictus during a laboratory misshapen. Benedictus, accidently dropped a glass flask that had dried collodium film inside and was surprised to find that the glass withstood the usual shattering. Of course the glass broke, but somehow it didn’t shatter and spread all over the place. This concept lead to the manufacturing of safety glasses for automobiles.

In 1930, a new form of glass known as tempered glass started replacing the pioneer glass invented by Benedictus. This glass was made by continuous heating and cooling process which made them break as soon as the vehicle hit somewhere, without shattering or splattering all over the place. This prevented the broken glass from flying onto the driver and the passenger’s face and injuring them.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was formed in 1970 to form guidelines and regulate safety standards regarding automobiles. The NHTSA now decides what is the clarity and strength that needs to be satisfied by particular glass to be fixed on automobiles.

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