To begin with, the term “windshield” is quite conversational and well-established, but not very true. In the Russian-language technical reference books and documentation exclusively “wind” dominates. In the English-speaking tradition, the windshield is called windscreen and windshield - literally "wind screen" or "wind shield", but not frontal or even front. So it’s more correct, because its initial and only purpose at the time of birth is to protect the car’s crew from the wind. Well, at the same time from the "oncoming" garbage with dust and insects.
Preserved glasses used by pioneer motorists almost immediately became a thing of the past. As soon as the cars became not a unique artifact, but goods suitable for sale, the idea arose to install a windshield. On indoor horse-drawn carts, they didn’t do this - they only used side windows, so I had to develop a concept from scratch: the form and methods of fastening.
Ford T Roadster 1920The 1920 Ford T Roadster is a typical two-section windshield design. It is possible that triplex has already been applied here: Henry Ford began this process in 1919. The 1920 Ford T Roadster is a typical two-section windshield design. It is possible that triplex has already been applied here: Henry Ford began this process in 1919.
Triplex and Sealant
Finding out when and where the windscreen first appeared is not easy. Many sources for some reason persistently call the Ford Model T of 1913, mentioning that the glass was round, protected only the driver and was attached using a holder mounted on the steering column. This seems to be wrong: the windshield also appears in photographs of earlier "teshes", moreover, in a normal rectangular configuration and in a full frame. And on other models too, for example, the 1907 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost - with a complex multi-section design.
Renault Type B (1899)The first fully enclosed bodywork in automotive history is the Renault Type B (1899). It seems that this is where the windshield was first applied. The first fully enclosed bodywork in automotive history is the Renault Type B (1899). It seems that this is where the windshield was first applied.
Therefore, historians pointing to 1899, when Marcel Renault built a fully glazed self-propelled two-seater crew, are more credible.
All the glasses of that time, of course, were flat, at first - ordinary building, a little later - toughened. Although back in 1909, the Frenchman Eduard Benedictus patented Triplex laminated glass. He conceived it when, dropping a flask containing the remains of nitrocellulose, he found that the bottle had cracked, but had not broken up into fragments. It is reported that already in 1911, Benedictus created an enterprise for the production of automotive windows. The production was complex and painstaking, and the products were expensive, so orders were mostly one-off from numerous body shops.
The adhesive layer between the two glasses was a celluloid sheet, which, during operation, quickly became cloudy and yellow. Therefore, the inventors for a long time improved the compositions of the polymer layer until they achieved decent results - the polyvinyl butyral film, which appeared in 1938, suited everyone. By the way, the modernized PVB technology is still used.
Oldsmobile Cutlass 1973Oldsmobile Cutlass 1973: glass glued to the body. The joint was masked by the fashion of those years with the developed moldings-fringes, like on the Audi 100. Oldsmobile Cutlass 1973: the glass is glued to the body. The joint at the same time in the fashion of those years was masked by the developed moldings-fringes, as on the Audi 100. Related materials Chronicle: Field of Miracles
Triplex finally came to the conveyors of the main plants in the late 1920s. Designers gradually abandoned all kinds of folding, sliding and folding glasses, and they began to be installed “tightly” on a rubber molding-seal, which ensured sufficient tightness of the connection. Looking ahead, this method of fastening lived for a very long time - the first cars with a glued-in windshield appeared only in 1973 (Audi 100 in Europe and Oldsmobile Cutlass in the USA).
We must bend!
In the 1930s, the V-shaped concept won the world market - a two-piece windshield with an additional pillar in the middle. A vertical or nearly vertical arrangement is a thing of the past - only at an angle! The era of angular "carriage-like" crews is over. This was preceded by the active development and research of “crazy scientists” in the field of aerodynamics, including Edmund Rumpler and Paul Yaray, who had a huge impact on automotive design.
Cadillac de ville 1949Voila! 1949 Cadillac De Ville - glass is still in two parts, but these parts are already curved. Very good in terms of both design and aerodynamics. Voila! 1949 Cadillac De Ville - glass is still in two parts, but these parts are already curved. Very good in terms of both design and aerodynamics.
Then, about ten years it took to the world war and the creation of technology for the mass production of curved glasses. Many have worked in this direction, and it is difficult to name someone the very first. But, definitely, one of the technology leaders during this period was Cadillac, the author of many innovations and trendsetter. It is believed that it was on the serial Cadillac in 1948 that curved glasses appeared - although still composed of two halves. But there is an alternative here - Studebaker in 1947.
It is curious that in this area the automobile industry of the USSR was practically keeping pace with the times, not far behind the Americans and even ahead of post-war Europe. In April 1956, the production of Moskvich-402 with bent windshields and rear windows began.