In honor of national safety month, we’d like to present a brief history of automotive safety glass. The early 1900s brought a surge of new technology in automobiles, with an evolution from traditional coach-style automobiles to buckboard runabouts. In 1902, the first windshield was introduced, little more than the standard glass you’d find on house windows. These early windshields constantly collected dirt and debris, making visible and safety major concerns.
Just one year after the first windshield was introduced, a French chemist named Edouard Benedictus stumbled upon the secret to shatter-resistant glass. The inventor of laminated glass and considered the father of safety glass, Benedictus discovered (by accident) that a glass coated with plastic cellulose kept much of its original shape when impacted – it still shattered but did not break into pieces, creating fewer shards or jagged fragments.
Up until the 1920s, automobiles were not equipped with this cutting-edge form of safety glass. But as automobiles became increasing more affordable and available – especially with the introduction of the Ford model T – roads and driving became more hazardous. The first windshields were very dangerous, especially if an auto accident occurred; it was common for drivers or passengers to get injured from flying shards or being thrown through the windshield.
With this increase in accidents and their subsequent injuries, automakers began implementing more safety measures, including requiring laminated glass to be an industry standard for windshields. In the 1930s, tempered glass began to be used for vehicles’ back and side windows. Tempered glass typically has isolated breakage and forms pebble-like crystals instead of sharp edges.
Today’s laminated glass is equipped with a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) inserted between two solid glass plates. Modern automakers are not only committed to manufacturing safer automobiles, but lawmakers too have passed higher vehicle safety standards with laws that better protect everyone on the road. The technological advances of modern-day windshields are safer than ever, providing clearer visibility, more protection upon impact and added protection from harmful UV rays.
Yet even with all the advances of the modern age, safety is not always guaranteed on the road. Performing regular maintenance on your vehicle as well as careful driving are the best ways to ensure safety wherever you drive. For more on vehicle safety information, check out Jack’s Glass in Cincinnati, OH.
Jack’s Glass has excelled in glass repair, replacement and design for more than 65 years. Jack’s Glass provides repair and replacement for auto glass and custom solutions shower and tub enclosures and many other residential glass items. We also do custom glasswork for businesses, and proudly serve Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky with locations in Elsmere, Covington, Alexandria and Dry Ridge.