March 5, 2014

Who invented the windshield wiper?

With all of the rain and snow affecting the United States, does anyone think about something as simple as who invented the windshield wipers that allow drivers to see in those bad conditions?

Before the invention of the windshield, drivers had to wear goggles to keep rain, snow, and bugs out of their eyes while driving. The first windshield, invented in 1904, could be folded down in case it became so dirty that drivers could not see through it. The other option was to pull over and try to clean the glass with your hand. Some drivers even tried rubbing an onion or carrot on the windshield, thinking that the oil from these vegetables would leave a film on the windshield, and repel the rain. That did not work either.

This 48 page book, written for the upper elementary reader, describes how Mary Anderson came up with her idea, what steps she took to try to patent the idea, and what happened after she allowed the patent to expire. Available in library, paperback, and eBook formats, this title is part of the Inventors at Work! series. This series is correlated to the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards. Other inventors in this series include Ruth Wakefield, Willis Haviland Carrier, Percy Spencer, and Jacques Cousteau. These titles are available from your preferred vendor, local bookstore,, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

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