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The Evolution of the Windshield

The windshield has its humble origins in the early 20th century, when horseless carriages began to use a glass screen to shelter drivers from the wind and the rain.

The windshield has its humble origins in the early 20th century, when horseless carriages began to use a glass screen to shelter drivers from the wind and the rain. However, the glass at that time was likely to shatter if hit by anything stronger than a gust of air.

Over time, chemists discovered the secret to shatter-proof glass – a coating of collodion film - and in the 1920s, this laminated glass was first implemented in automobiles. This windshield was far sturdier than the last, but still fairly vulnerable in comparison to today’s model, which utilizes a layer of polyvinyl butyral sandwiched between two layers of glass.

For the side and back windows, a strong, tempered glass is used – a technique dating back to the late 1930s. The glass is heated and then rapidly cooled, strengthening the glass at its core and provided a sturdy, resistant surface.

Automobiles today are safer than ever, thanks to the improvements in glass technology made over the past century.