In 1886 when cars were invented, there was not such a thing as windshields and people would drive around wearing goggles to handle the elements. Eventually, people got smarter and things changed. The relentless pursuit to always improve the auto industry started. This happens when companies have competition. Windshields eventually became commonplace and something is seen as paramount to our safety.
Let’s dive further into the history of the engineering of auto glass to unfold where it is now.
In the early 1950s, Asahi Glass Company started supplying automotive glass in Japan. The only requirement at the time was the transparency and safety of the glass. Over time, different glass was created to accommodate the new lines of vehicles that were coming out.
Back in the early 1900s, it was noticed that the glass in vehicles was doing more damage to cause injury during an accident than if there was no glass at all. This had to change. New glass was introduced by Ford and Chrysler that brought forth a curved windshield composed of only one piece of glass.
In the 1950s, there was a shift from molten glass to a special urethane windshield. Around this era, General Motors showed off a new type of “panoramic” windshield which changed the industry once again. In the 1960s, the US government made sure they were regulating the safety of windshields all around. By the 1990s, infrared penetration was minimalized.
The most innovative technologies that have come out in recent years in auto glass.
Panoramic windshields are changing the game
The more you see the better your driving experience – and safety. Tesla came out with this type of windshield when he came out with the Tesla Model X. Of all the manufacturers, Tesla has the upper hand in this regard with providing the largest all-glass windshield there is. This windshield takes up 31 square feet and almost uninhibited views of your surroundings. Although this is like combining a sunroof with a windshield, Tesla took care of an important issue in ensuring the sunlight from the top of the vehicle was dampened by solar tinting technology integrated into the glass.
Smart car glass is now a reality
The Jetsons cartoon is becoming more of a reality, our cars just are not flying yet. Electrochromic glass, which can also be referred to as “smart glass”, allows the driver to tint the glass and choose the amount of light that is filtered through the glass. Almost unreal… but this is going to be more common in the future as it just came out in 2019 and is a huge hit for McLaren, who revealed it in 2019.
Heated front windshields keeping things cozy and warm
Heated front windshields have recently been adopted for defogging and defrosting abilities by Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and Land Rover. These windshields work faster to keep your windshield clear of fog and ice faster than any windshield on the market. These windshields are lined with translucent wiring that is barely visible to allow for the windshield to heat throughout.
There are always going to be new technologies coming out with windshields and the next thing is wiper-free windshields. Can you imagine not having to turn your wipers on during a downpour or while it is snowing? This and other new things are already being thought of and will likely all be a norm for us in 20 years with vehicles coming standard with such technology. This, along with auto glass replacement, has come leaps and bounds and in the Calgary area with our weather patterns – we will welcome the future.