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One of the underrated parts of the vehicles we drive today is the windshield wiper. These wipers are particularly designed to protect and safe you while driving your vehicle. This is because it offers the clear vision you need to navigate your travels in a safely manner. The fact that windshield wipers will clean all that needed to be cleaned make them crucial to your safety. They will effectively clear debris to make you see clearly during snowstorms and rainstorms.

With this history of windshield wipers, you will learn how this important part of a vehicle came into existence.

See Also: Best Windshield Wipers 2018 – Buyer’s Guide

The First Windshield Wipers

As far as functionality or operation is concerned, windshield wipers produced in those days are not like those of today. The first windshield wipers were manually operated. They worked by using hands to move a lever from within the vehicle forward and backward. All wipers of that period were operated manually.

See Also: How to Change Windshield Wipers : Complete Guide

As a matter of fact, the wiper blades of that time maintained the quality of keeping car windows clear and sweep water away, despite the fact that they were operated with the use of hands. What makes these wipers unique was that they move extraordinarily fast. These wiper arms wobble the vehicle sideways at the highest speed. At this very point, you may want to ask that what type of device can move the wiper arms so dependable and effective in this way.

The best quality wipers of that time were manufactured in 1903 and they were in form of brushes. With this system, two brushes were being maneuvered up and down on an upright plate glass to wipe water off the glass of the car. It is a way of moving the swinging arm of the wiper by the driver.

The Drawback to the Development

There was a big drawback to the development of the windshield wipers of that time because there were no electric motors at that time to power the wiper blades, meaning that the driver always used one of his hands to move the lever for it to work, and used the other hand to steer the vehicle (with any of a steering or wheel rudder). On the other hand, he worked the stick-erected cog shift and brake grips on the flooring of the vehicle or on the running board outside the driver’s side in order to operate the device and make it work effectively.

The Automated Windshield Wipers Design

In 1905, rubber strips were substituted for brushes as cleaning instruments used on windshield wipers of that era. Regrettably, the dangerous condition for drivers to wipe windshields when on the move was not removed until 1917. The use of an electronic motor to move a single wiper back and forth with the aid of a long rubber blade was the solution.

The automatic wiper blades were eventually invented in 1917 when electric motors were incorporated in the top center of the windshield in order for the wiper to arc down on top of the hood of the vehicle in a rainbow or semi-circular shape. After the electric starter was founded in 1912, windshield wipers were one of the first electrical gadgets in automobiles. Prior to 1930, nearly all wipers on vehicles were matched and suspended downward from the top of the windscreen. When the electrical systems turned out to be more complex, they were taken to the pedestal of the windshield.

It was during this period that the windshield washers were incorporated into the On and Off switches of the wiper which sprayed a tank used for washer fluid in the engine compartment with the nozzles in front of the windshield and electrical connections to synchronize these processes.

The Intermittent Wiper

The intermittent changeable wiper with speeds and intervals was invented in 1962. This development marked the introduction of electronic systems with circuit breakers and fuses to maneuver, control, and manage electrical components which eventually lengthened the potential for more different windshield wipers.

In the 1980s, windshield wipers were introduced to headlights, needing links between the wiper and the lighting systems. In the 1990s however, micro sensors were incorporated into the windshields to discover rain on the windscreen, trigger the wipers, regulates the speed and the sporadic use for the amount of rain.

Vacuumed Powered, Single Wiper Blade

The vacuumed-powered wiper blade operated by suction from the intake manifold of the engine was invented in 1921. Timing was a bit of an issue as the wiper speed harmonized that of the vehicle. The engine vacuum dropped and the wipers either stopped or slowed down altogether with the throttle wide opened. Nevertheless, this invention is now one of the major names in best wipers.

The Development of Headlight or Sensors Wipers

1970 witnessed the development of headlight wipers with some vehicles having rain-sensitive intermittent windshield wipers. But how did these particular wipers know how and when to actually wipe at that point in time? The fact is that the resistance wipers that met on the first swipe was measured by the engine; and small resistance meant that the windshield was considerably dry even as greater resistance showed more moisture.

During the 1990s, infrared optical micro sensors were built into windshield to sense rain and establish the speed of the wiper. These sensor wipers are now available on different models of vehicles.

Today’s Windshield Blade Designs

Taking the first design of the initial investor of a windshield as far as possible, the windshield blades of nowadays keep building on the history of best quality windshield wipers. Quite a number of them are designed to tackle rain while others are planned to fix windshield issues such as snow and ice. windshield wipers have a range of settings that can tackle harshest or lightest weather conditions.

The history of wipers is storied, and even brought about a slight amount of controversy. The history highlighted the importance of windshield wipers, but it is quite unfortunate that most drivers failed to understand the history behind this most important device on vehicles completely.


While the first windshield wiper technology was considerably primordial, it upped the safety considerably. Wipers started appearing in the front and back of windshields as well as the headlights with the passage of time and further development of electronic gadgetry. There are now windshield wipers with incorporated sensors that don’t need the driver to even tap or switch on a button to have clear windshields, from those days when driver have to take their minds back to when they fish their toolkit in or bring a squeegee along in order to operate their wipers.

Today, windshield wipers are no longer sophisticated to operate and with a touch of a button in your car, your wiper will work. Windshield wipers will always be available for us when we need them as they are no longer optional gadgets.

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