Mary Anderson invented the windshield wiper

30 Things I Didn’t Know about Birmingham

I am sharing interesting tidbits I’ve recently learned about Birmingham and some of her people. These items may be new to you as well or just a reminder. Please join me each day for a new fact.

Number Nine

I just learned that a Birmingham resident invented the windshield wiper. Mary Anderson was born in Greene County in 1866 but moved to Birmingham with her widowed mother and sisters in 1889.

It was during a visit to New York in 1903 that Anderson noticed “that the motorman drove with the front window open because of difficulty keeping the windshield clear of falling sleet. When she returned to Alabama she hired a designer for a hand-operated device to keep a windshield clear and had a local company produce a working model. She applied for, and in 1903 was granted, a 17-year patent for a windshield wiper.Her device consisted of a lever inside the vehicle that controlled a rubber blade on the outside of the windshield. The lever could be operated to cause the spring-loaded arm to move back and forth across the windshield. A counterweight was used to ensure contact between the wiper and the window.Similar devices had been made earlier, but Anderson’s was the first to be effective,” according to Wikipedia.

Click the following link for more information:

Mary Anderson (1866-1953)

Mary Anderson (1866-1953)

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