First Student is proud to recognize and support Women’s History Month by bringing you the stories of women who have made contributions to the transportation industry.
|If you have ever driven during a rain storm, you have Mary Anderson to thank for your windshield wipers.|
Mary Anderson came up with the idea of a windshield wiper blade in the early 1900s while touring New York City. While riding a trolley car on a snowy day, Anderson saw drivers having to stop the vehicle, go outside and clear the front window.
This is when she conceived the idea of a lever inside the vehicle that controlled a spring-loaded arm with a rubber blade. With a counterweight, the blade could move across the windshield removing rain or snow.
When Anderson went back home to Birmingham, Alabama, she applied for and was awarded a patent in 1903 for her Window Cleaning Device.
As driving became more common, the windshield wiper was adapted for automotive use. It was Cadillac that began installing the wiper as a standard piece of equipment on its cars in 1922.
You can read more about Mary Anderson at National Inventors Hall of Fame.