A rainy day. You are out in a car or a bus. The rain is so heavy that you find it difficult to see even a few yards ahead. The driver has to drive very carefully. Can you imagine how he would be able to drive if the wiper was not there, swinging back and forth to remove the rain drops from the windshield?
We take the wiper so much for granted. The windshield wiper is the innovation of a thoughtful young lady, which has made this convenience possible.
The lady was Mary Anderson. It was the year 1903. She watched a shivering motorman getting out of the car constantly and wiping the snow and sleet from his windshield. She came home that day and scribbled a drawing of what would become the first successful windshield wiper system. All she needed to do was to invent a lever system inside the car, which would swing an arm over the windshield to wipe it and provide visibility to the driver.
The system she developed had a lever which the driver could operate manually from inside the car. The lever would activate a swinging arm with a rubber blade. The spring-loaded swinging arm would cause the blades to swing across the windshield and then return to the original position. Charlotte Bridgwood developed this further to create the first automatic windshield wiper.
Windshield wipers became a permanent component of cars in America by 1916.