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Introduction The History of Windscreens Late 1800s - Early 1900s 1903 1919-1937 1982 Present-day The Windscreen Company

The History of Windscreens

When the first vehicles started being designed, built and driven, inventors quickly became aware of a major issue. Whilst driving, passengers were being hit with small stones and bugs, and the wind would make it hard to see whilst operating the vehicle. Scroll through the entire history of windscreens below.

the history of windscreens

The History of Windscreens

In the early windscreen designs, the glass was made of just that – glass. This led to passengers being terribly injured by broken shards of glass during accidents, even more so than if the glass hadn’t been there.

windscreens in the late 1800s and early 1900s

Late 1800s - Early 1900s

Manufacturers had to come up with a more suitable material for windscreens, one that was cheap and could be applicable to all vehicle types. Surely enough, they created a glass that could withstand the harsh conditions of the road and would shatter under stress called tempered glass.

This glass was cheap and would break into small pieces when broken, the downside was that it shattered easily, so the owner of the vehicle would end up replacing the windscreen frequently.

Interesting fact: During the early 1900s, windscreens were folded down when they got dirty as windscreen wipers were yet to be invented.

Edouard Benedictus, discovering laminated glass


A French chemist, Edouard Benedictus, was the first to discover laminated glass. Although it took some years for car manufacturers to use this glass for their windscreens, it overcame the issues of tempered glass as it didn’t break so easily and you still had great vision through the glass.

gavel and sound block


Henry Ford was the first car manufacturer to use laminated glass, adding it onto all his vehicles between 1919-1929. Many other car manufacturers followed Ford by swapping to laminated glass, as it clearly became the safest and most suitable glass material for a windscreen. In 1937, it was made compulsory to have laminated glass on all vehicles, preventing further injury during traffic collisions.

chipped windscreen on a classic car


The only issue with laminated glass was when there was localised damage, such as a chipped windscreen, then the damage would slowly expand over the entire windscreen. In 1982, Esprit developed the first windscreen repair system which worked by using a simple bonding process where clear resin was injected into the cracked area. Then the resin was left to ‘cure’, taking around 20-30 minutes and allowing the glass to be restored to 90% of its original standard.

This innovative invention has allowed drivers to have the same windscreen for years, as the occasional chip repair prevents them having to fork out for a windscreen replacement.

windscreen blocking UV and heat


Windscreens now come with added tints to reduce the amount of UV light and heat entering the vehicle. The windscreen has come a long way since its original design and there’s no doubt the windscreen will continue to improve in its safety and efficiency over the years to come.

The Windscreen Company

Founded over 20 years ago, The Windscreen Company has played its part in the history of windscreens and is constantly developing to provide the best service possible to customers.

We use state-of-the-art technology to fix any chips in your windscreen and can also replace your windscreen to get you back on the road and keep your business moving. For more information on our services, please get in contact with a member of our team today.

Telephone: Call us on 08009 981 068

Email: enquiries@thewindscreenco.co.uk

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