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Windshields first appeared around 1905 and at that time all windshields were made of glass. The glass windshields however proved to be a nuisance when it came to passenger safety, since the glass shattered into sharp pieces during accidents and ended up injuring the passengers. These injuries led to many lawsuits against auto manufacturing companies that led to huge losses.
Later on after the lawsuits, companies decided to harden the glass used in making the windshields by tempering it, a heat treatment process, making the glass harder and more resistant to shattering. The hardened glass was then fitted to the frame with rubber or neoprene. The tempered glass was somehow effective since it shattered to many small harmless fragments that couldn't harm the passengers. Their huge disadvantage, however, was that they shattered even under the effect of small chips.
In 1919 Henry Ford incorporated glass laminating (then a French technique) in the construction of windshields. This technology is still in use today and is the standard requirement in windshield construction in many countries all over the world. The laminated windshield consists of two curved sheets of glass with a laminated plastic layer in between them. The laminated glass often bends under impact and rarely shatters. This has increased the safety of passengers over the years.
The laminated glass is easily repaired when damaged. Windshield repair involves drilling into the windshield where special adhesive is injected to the laminated layer under pressure. This repair normally restores the strength and clarity back to the damaged windshield.
Auto glass replacement is however the most convenient and effective way to ensure that the safety of the passengers is not compromised. Windshield replacement is fast and can take as little as thirty minutes.
The evolution of windshields does not stop there though, and the future looks bright for windshield technology with increased surface area in automobiles to accommodate advanced aerodynamic designs.