This post is the second in a series on windshield history, technology, and mobile windshield replacement. If you haven’t read part 1 yet, I recommend you do before continuing.

The quest for a safer windshield (continued)

Later, when Benedictus got out a beaker for his next experiment, he dropped it. The beaker shattered, but all of the pieces of glass stuck together, held in place by the dried cellulose nitrate. Benedictus realized what had happened, and laminated glass was born.

In 1917, Henry Ford was in search of a better way to make windshields. There had been numerous reports of crash injuries and at least one lawsuit related to the plate glass windshields that Ford had been installing in their cars. When he heard about Benedictus’ invention, it seemed like a perfect fit. He used this laminated glass technique to build windshields composed of two panes of glass sandwiched around a core of cellulose. By 1919, all cars coming off of the Ford assembly line had laminated glass windshields.

A group of cars from the 1920s - mobile windshield replacement blog

Of course, windshield technology has come a long way since 1919. The 1930s saw the widespread inception of tempered glass, which breaks into much smaller pieces than non-tempered glass. These small pieces stay attached to the laminate much better than larger shards.

Modern windshields and windshield replacement

Modern windshields use Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) instead of cellulose to hold the laminated sheets together. PVB is clearer and much tougher than cellulose. The biggest difference between early windshields and modern ones; however, is the number of roles they perform. While early windshields did little more than keep the bugs out of your teeth, modern ones are a critical safety system in your car.

Check back soon for Windshield is a Misleading Name – More on Mobile Windshield Replacement Done Right – Part 3. In the meantime, check out our page on mobile windshield replacement.