History of Windshields

Windshields in the 1900’s

The early 1900’s were the very start of what we now call the windshield which has dramatically evolved, just as transportation has. In the past, extremely thin horizontally-divided pieces of plate glass were put around the outskirts of the car to protect all passengers from outside elements such as bugs, dust, and rain. The type of glass used was as thin as a single sheet of paper you would find in your home.  The horizontally-divided design was used for the purpose of being able to fold over, so the driver was able to continue driving when the windshield got too dirty to see through. Unfortunately, this would leave the driver and passengers exposed to the elements. They would then have to set aside time to pull over and clean the glass or leave it as is.

Although the idea, as well as the labor, was quite impressive considering the era and the limited supply of materials, the paper thin protective glass was not as protective as the windshield today. With a protectant so thin, treacherous rainstorms, hail, and flying tree branches would tear right through the glass with little to no effort. Windshields as such had to be replaced continually, but as materials were scarce, they did whatever they could to protect their windshield from falling apart.

Windshields Today

As time progressed, so did the development of windshields. Windshields today are made of tempered glass, which is glass, put through a forming process that makes it stronger than your average piece of standard glass. Just when you thought tempered glass would be enough, they added an extra layer of protection called “lamination.” If you remember from school, laminating is covering something in a sheet of plastic – this is done to your windshield but from the inside. The plastic is sandwiched between two or more layers of tempered glass which prevents pieces of glass flying everywhere when directly hit.

The strength of this tempered and laminated glass varies by company but, all meet a safety standard to protect you from the most common elements. Even a baseball bat would need to be swung several strikes before breaking through the class. And even with a few hits, the glass will only shatter within itself but remain a solid piece resisting penetration. In this day and age, we have advanced to a point where windshields can be made strong enough to resist or be completely bulletproof.

Why You Need a Professional for Windshield Repair

If your windshield has cracked or splintered and you need it replaced, replacing it yourself is not nearly as easy as taking it to a body shop, where it is properly removed, cleaned, replaced, and sealed. The process of replacing the windshield has evolved as well and in some cases is a structural component of the vehicle. It is advised that a professional should remove and install the windshield of your car or truck to prevent damage and ensure the proper method of installation.