Windscreen wipers have been around as long as the automobile. Before the automobile was invented, transportation never really moved that fast. So the vehicles never needed a windscreen to protect the driver and the passenger.

It was the inventor J.H. Apjohn who created the first ever windscreen wipers in 1903. They were made from two brushes which ran up and down the windscreen. However it was Mary Anderson who came up with a swinging arm which swept rain off the windscreen. The swinging arm was controlled by a lever inside the car. By the year 1913, the swinging arm windscreen wiper came as standard with all automobiles. However it was controlled by the driver having one arm on the steering wheel and one arm on the lever whenever it was needed. It wasn’t exactly the safest way to drive!

The main change in windscreen wipers came in 1917 when an electric motor was introduced. There was just one wiper with a long rubber blade attached. It was Dr. Ormand Wall, a Hawaiian dentist, who invented the automatic wiper and it was placed in the top centre of the windshield.

The placement of windscreen wipers changed dramatically over time. The motor started off on the floor of the car like a gear stick. Then it moved to the top centre of the windshield and then they moved to the base of the windshield. The changes occurred because of the advancement in their controls. When electrical systems became more advanced, the placement of the wipers needed to be changed.

It was in 1962 that the intermittent wiper was introduced by Bob Kearns. His invention allowed the windscreen wipers to use different speeds and intervals. The driver still had to control this. It wasn’t until the 1990’s that sensors were added to cars which detected rain on the windshield automatically.

Overall windscreen wipers have changed a lot over time. Their need has always been apparent and luckily as they have evolved they have become much easier and safer for the driver to use.

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