Prior to the manufacture of Henry Ford’s Model A, Mary Anderson was granted her first patent for a window-cleaning device in November 1903. Her invention could clean snow, rain, or sleet from a windshield by using a handle inside the car. Her
goal was to improve driver vision during stormy weather.
Often confused with the Mary Anderson who was a labour organiser in the 1920’s, very little is known about the Alabama belle who invented the windshield wiper. We do know that in 1903 she took a trip to New York City. Touring the city on a
get out to wipe off the snow and ice that collected on the windshield. The
motormen had tried a variety of solutions to this problem but none seemed to
Mary had an idea. She made a quick drawing in her sketchbook. Her device, which would be patented a year later, allowed the motorman to manipulate a lever from the inside that “activated a swinging arm that mechanically swept off the ice and snow.” When warmer weather came the device could be easily removed.
Even though her friends teased her about her invention she was not one to give in to peer pressure. She received a patent for it a year later. While she never sold
her invention, her invention did catch on and by 1913 they were standard equipment on cars, saving lives and making it easier to drive through storms.
- author - nzgir.com 2002
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