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Right in Front of Your Face: Why Windshields Matter


Your windshield is one of the most important parts on your car. Not only does your windshield keep the wind out of your face, it also protects you from dust, debris, insects, and rocks. It is also an important structural component that helps to keep the roof of your car connected with the main body. It is generally accepted that an auto glass repair technician should inspect and fix your windshield soon as you notice a chip or break in it. But have you ever wondered why the windshield doesn't shatter when it gets cracked? We all know the auto glass is different than ordinary glass like window panes. But what exactly is your windshield really made from, and how does it work to protect the driver and the passengers? Let's take an in-depth look at the history of your windshield to find out more:

Glass History 101

Glass itself is a substance with a long history. It is a naturally occurring substance, created as a byproduct of volcanic activity. Man first harnessed natural glass many thousands of years ago in the Stone Age. In those times, mankind used glass more as a tool and a weapon than as decoration. As time passed, mankind learned to temper glass for themselves. As early as 3500 B.C., ancient Egyptians learned how to make glass for jewelry, beads, and sculptures. Since then, mankind improved their techniques for making, handling, and their uses for glass.

Glass in Automobiles

Glass windshields have been a part of the automobile since 1904. People needed protection from flying debris in the road like dust and rocks. A windshield was the answer. The first windshields were nothing more than a few pieces of normal window pane glass placed in front of occupants. This glass was just an extra option until Oldsmobile began to sell cars with windshields as standard equipment in 1915. Unfortunately, these first glass windshields caused major problems.

In the event of an accident, this glass became very dangerous to the occupants. Flying shards of glass caused by an accident often injured passengers and drivers. The glass did not protect occupants from possible ejection out of their vehicle. Since the glass usually shattered completely, auto glass repair always meant total replacement. Since sheet glass was expensive to make and cut precisely during those days, replacing the glass was also very expensive.

Ford's Answer to Shattered Glass

In 1919, Henry Ford began using a new technique for creating glass that scientist Edouard Benedictus had discovered 15 years earlier. By adding a thin protective layer of plastic film between two pieces of glass, it will not shatter when it breaks. If it did break, the glass would stay intact, breaking into a spider web pattern instead of completely shattering into tiny shards. He called this technique 'glass laminating'. This new technique not only saved lives, but it also allowed someone to perform auto glass repair instead of always requiring a replacement. This laminated glass became standard for windshields by 1930.

Modern Windshields Offer Safety and Easy Auto Glass Repair

Over the years, auto companies have used laminated glass for all windshields. However, there have been many improvements to the process since then. Scientists have made vast improvements in the quality of the laminating material. It now provides even more strength and durability to the glass. They have also added tinting of the laminating material, which helps block harmful rays and glare. Tiny metal wires embedded in the laminating material can also help keep fog from forming on the windshield. Automakers have also vastly improved the glass itself. The glass is now specially tempered, making it stronger and better suited for use as a windshield. It also acts as an additional structural support for the car and its rooftop. Automakers have redesigned windshield glass for easy repairs by an auto glass repair technician.

Get the Best in Auto Glass Repair

If you're in the Los Angeles area, visit West Coast Tire & Service for auto glass repair done quickly, and done right. They'll get you back on the road in no time, and you'll love having a clear view of the road ahead!