Cars in Houston were not always equipped with windshields and many early autos looked more like wagons than motorized vehicles. The development of safety glass was an ongoing process that evolved from the need to protect vehicle drivers and passengers from the elements and road debris. Years of research and development has resulted in the windshields and auto glass that is installed in vehicles today.
Houston drivers who are dealing with nicks or cracks in their windshields may believe that these issues can be ignored, but safety glass is designed in a way that requires it to be completely intact to provide the structural and safety benefits it was designed to provide. A Houston auto glass repair company can help drivers stay safe by performing a windshield replacement or repair.
The Introduction of Safety Glass
Safety glass provides much-needed protection for the occupants of a vehicle. Early cars did not have windshields, and drivers quickly discovered that they needed to be protected from debris that was stirred on the road.
The first windshield was used in 1904. A simple folding design made these panels much like the window glass that is used in buildings. A divider was placed in the middle of the panel, and the top of the windshield could be folded out of the line of vision to allow drivers to see when this portion became too dirty.
The popular Model T did not come equipped with a windshield unless drivers were willing to pay a premium. Safety glass did not become a standard feature on a vehicle until Oldsmobile started selling vehicles with laminated safety glass in 1927.
Early windshields actually contributed to the number of accident-related injuries that were suffered. The plate glass of these windshields meant that they shattered on impact. Glass shards often cut passengers. Seat belts were not installed in vehicles until the 1960s, so people who were involved in an accident were more likely to go through the windshield. Lawsuits related to the injuries suffered as a result of broken glass were common in those days.
A Safer Windshield
Some historians believe that Henry Ford was actually injured by a broken windshield. It is believed that his personal injuries prompted this entrepreneur to research a safer option.
Another reason for Ford’s decision to search for a different option for glass is the fact that more Americans were demanding enclosed vehicles. Surrounding windows meant more glass, and the windshield material was already expensive. The price of glass had risen substantially since Ford began offering vehicles with windshields.
A new method of producing safety glass was introduced in 1919. Molten glass was poured and rolled at a Ford factory, and laminated glass was installed in vehicles in late 1919.
An Improvement in Clarity
Laminated glass provided increased safety, but it was more difficult for drivers to see through. Improved visibility was offered in the 1950s. Improved mixing techniques allowed for air bubbles to be thoroughly removed from windshields which resulted in better visibility.
Modern Glass-Making Techniques
Complex processes are used to produce the glass that is used in windshields today. UV protection has been added to expand safety features and protect vehicle occupants from the sun’s harmful rays.
The strength and durability of windshields has also changed over the decades. Windshields that have been produced since new safety regulations were introduced in 1966 are able to withstand approximately three times the impact that early safety glass could withstand.
Modern safety glass is designed to stay intact during an accident. It also provides support for the roof of a vehicle, so windshields are actually able to protect vehicle occupants by preventing a roof collapse.
While windshields have come a long way since they were first introduced in the early 1900s, windshield damage can still compromise the safety of a vehicle. Mobile windshield repair companies in Houston make it even easier than ever to have the safety features your vehicle was design to provide. You can get a windshield replacement or repair at your home or business with a simple phone call to a Houston auto glass repair company.