The appearance of the first windshields on the emerging automobile
Basically, this element had the main function, as its name suggests, to protect drivers and passengers of the automobile against wind and rain. At the time, we spoke more of a “breeze” than of wind when faced with the slowness of the first motor cars.
The first means of automobile transport?
At the beginning of the century, motorized transport only allowed very slow travel… From the first steam car which did not exceed 4 km/h to the first combustion engine which reached 10 km/h, the question of having to protection from wind or bad weather was not really relevant. The priorities of the manufacturers, or rather the inventors of the time, were to make their cars more reliable… The goal was to offer motorists the ability to move around safely without putting their lives in danger.
The advent of a simple window as a “windscreen”
In the second half of the 19th century, flat and (finally) transparent glass made its appearance. It will be necessary to wait until 1874 and the presentation of the Randolph, to discover the first car equipped with a real windshield . Then in 1880, came “la Nouvelle” created by the Amédée Bollée teams, also equipped with a system of protective windows at the front of the vehicle. It is also attributed a little notoriety to a certain Miss Doumayrou, who, to protect her hairstyles during her car rides, would have installed a “windbreak” on the front of her car…
It was at the very end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th that the first cars equipped with front windows began to be marketed and generalized. Indeed, as technology progressed, the average speed that these machines could reach increased. So that it was quickly necessary to protect the users from the wind, the rain (birth of the windscreen wiper) and projections of all kinds from the roads which, at that time, were still for the most part only paths stony.
Windows for the comfort and safety of all
Gradually, the increase in the speed of cars implied dangerous consequences for the drivers and its passengers. The front windshield then made it possible to reduce the number of accidents caused by a projectile, a bird or even an insect which would rush into the passenger compartment, thus interfering with driving at full speed. In addition, while engine manufacturing technologies were now mastered and made it possible to travel longer and longer distances, manufacturers also looked into questions of cabin comfort.
The windshield and the appearance of side windows then became an excellent means of protection against bad weather.
The evolution of glass techniques
The development of the automotive sector has been a real factor of innovation for glassmakers who have had to take into account the optical constraints and the need for high transparency of materials for automotive equipment… The teams of the French company Saint Gobain in particular have been at the origin of many innovations in the field of automotive glazing.
The front glazing of vehicles has evolved at the same time as automotive technologies and vertical plane windows have quickly given way to curved, broadly curved and very inclined glazing. All of these advances have given the windshield a prominent place in model design, even contributing to the structural integrity of cars.
Tempered glass becomes laminated for better security
Nowadays, technological developments have made it possible to meet a multitude of selection criteria for automotive glass. Optical and mechanical properties, safety, acoustics, comfort, windshields today offer a wide choice of options and performances. The appearance of laminated glass was certainly the most important advance of the last century.
A chemical artist discovered by accident that adding a thin plastic film between two sheets of glass allowed the assembly not to break into a thousand pieces but to remain united. The Triplex was born! Since then, developments have not stopped and automotive glazing has become athermal to filter out ultraviolet rays, acoustic by attenuating sound vibrations, tinted in different colors, electro-chrome allowing it to darken at will or even heating… Some can detect rain when others, hydrophobic (with treatment called Stoprain), will be able to repel the drops of water to the surface.
In addition to providing comfort of use and optimum visibility for the driver, the main purpose of a vehicle’s windshield is to protect it from external attacks and projections. At high speed, several impacts can take place on your vehicle and, in this case, on the entire glass surface. These impacts of pebbles, birds, branches, will end up causing scratches or cracks, so much damage that will weaken the structure of the glass. All these attacks, if they are not treated, will reduce the effectiveness and the protective nature of the equipment, reducing driving comfort accordingly.
When should the replacement be done?
By their nature, automotive glazing is subject to all types of impacts that will require either repair or total replacement. If your window has received an impact with a diameter larger than a two euro coin, then it must be repaired immediately to prevent weather conditions or road vibrations and shocks from damaging it further. In the event that the impact or the crack is more significant or if they are less than 4 centimeters from the ends, then the windshield will have to be replaced in its entirety.
Indeed, the crack can increase and end up causing the breakage of the entire surface, it is imperative to react as quickly as possible to continue driving safely in your car.