Fun Facts About Windshields (Part 2): Shatterproof Glass was Invented by Accident.
Auto Glass 2020 has started a new blog series all about fun facts about windshields. Last week we talked about how the first windshields were considered “luxury” items and only the wealthiest could afford them. This week, we’re gonna go a bit deeper into the history of windshields.
The first windshields were very basic and consisted of nothing more than 2 sheets of window-pane glass. In some cases, there were upper panes and lower panes and these could be folded to allow for better visibility if the glass became dirty. These first windshields offered decent protection against the wind, weather, and debris. But what soon was discovered, was that in the event of an accident, these windshields were extremely dangerous to passengers and nearby people if there was any sort of accident or impact. So, any type of windshield damage would ultimately cause the windshield glass to shatter into sharp shards that oftentimes caused significant injuries to those involved.
So, although this issue was well-known, there was no easy solution at the time. Until a happy little accident occurred one day in a lab.
The Invention of Shatterproof Glass.
In the early 1900s, a French chemist by the name of Edouard Benedictus, was working in his lab when he inadvertently dropped a glass flask coated in cellulose nitrate. And what do you think happened when it hit the floor? It broke, but it DID NOT SHATTER!
Ultimately, the process of coating glass in cellulose nitrate proved to be too expensive for widespread use in the auto glass industry. However, it served as motivation for other scientists to work on improving the “original” shatterproof glass and ultimately develop the first versions of the auto glass and windshields in our vehicles today.
So, what did we learn today? There is no such thing as a mistake or an accident when it comes to invention. Sometimes these mistakes end up changing an entire industry. In this case, the auto glass and windshield industry.
Chipped or Cracked Windshield?
Are you currently driving around Phoenix with a chipped or cracked windshield? Or maybe you’re beyond that and your windshield damage looks like it could “shatter” at any moment. Either way, call Auto Glass 2020 today at (480) 283-7751 or get a quote here! We live and breathe windshield repair and windshield replacement and want to get you safely back out on the roads quickly. Ask us about our mobile windshield repair services to fit your busy schedule. Or if you’d prefer in-shop windshield replacement, we’ve got that too!