Flashback: designing the car windscreen

53 Eldorado

Long used for protection and safety, the windscreen of the future could also become a field of information

The windscreen, and automotive glass in general, is so ubiquitous and so well engineered that it is easy to take it for granted. That is, of course, until it frosts on a cold morning, or is the target of birds, or breaks when a stone is kicked up on the motorway.

Automotive glass, like steel and plastics, is a highly refined material, the result of decades of research and a great deal of ever-increasing regulation. The glass in our current cars is among the most advanced materials ever developed, finished and refined to a standard that would have been impossible in 1904 when the first windscreens were installed.

oldsmobile 1915

The 1915 Oldsmobile – first car with a windscreen as standard

The first windscreens were expensive luxuries, installed on primitive cars which were themselves expensive gadgets. In 1908, when Henry Ford finally produced a modestly-priced car, the Model T, he sold windscreens as an option package that also…

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