Author Topic: The windscreen wiper  (Read 3338 times)

Offline fasteddy

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6666
The windscreen wiper
« on: September 03, 2020, 09:25:09 PM »
Stuttgart. 160 vehicles and a total of 1,500 exhibits are presented in the varied permanent exhibition of the Mercedes-Benz Museum. The “33 Extras” are a particular highlight: they can bring the history of personal mobility and motoring culture to life using details that are often surprising. The Mercedes-Benz Museum Inside newsletter series draws attention to the “33 Extras” and focuses on their background stories. Today’s edition is all about the windscreen wiper.

14/33: The windscreen wiper

1 – Clear view: The windscreen puts an end to air blowing directly at the occupants. But the next challenge is not far away; when it rains, for instance. For that is when drops cloud the driver’s view. This is, of course, a safety hazard. Help was already at hand as early as 1903: on 10 November 1903 the American Mary Anderson received US Patent No. 743.801A for her “window cleaning device”.

2 – Clear Construction: The first windscreen wiper in the world had wooden arms with rubber lips attached to them. The arms revolved around an attachment point. They were also ingeniously powered: there was a lever in the driver’s reach. When the lever was pulled, a spring was tensioned, and this then allowed the wiper to glide across the pane.

3 – Inspiration: Anderson got her inspiration for this idea during a journey by tram through New York in winter. She observed that snow on the glass prevented the driver from gaining a direct view of the road. As was usual back then, the driver lifted up part of the pane for a clear view – letting cold and wind into the tram. The windscreen wiper was the solution to this problem.

4 – Pioneer: Anderson hit the bullseye with her invention – but she was premature. She tried to market the innovation for comfort and safety, but not a single vehicle manufacturer included the windscreen wiper in series vehicles. It was not until the patent protection expired that it gained acceptance from the 1920s onwards.

5 – Variants: Other inventors also devoted their efforts to achieving a clearer view. For example, in 1908 Prince Heinrich of Prussia, a passionate motorist and brother of German Emperor Wilhelm II., invented the “Henrici screen cleaner”, a fabric-covered “wiper ruler”. It was fastened at the upper edge of the pane and was moved by hand – which only worked with open-top vehicles. This meant that you got wet but at least you could see clearly.

6 – Development: Over the decades the windscreen wiper was repeatedly improved. Electric motors power the wipers, higher driving speeds call for improved designs, electronics and sensors control the wiping, rubber lips no longer freeze, windscreen-cleaning wiper water is heated and put on the glass in an ever more targeted manner: numerous innovations accompany this part of the history of technology, and many come from Mercedes-Benz.

7 – Everything for a clear view: The retractable windscreen wiper for better pedestrian protection is revolutionary. It was invented by safety engineer Béla Barényi in 1951. In 1970 the research vehicle C 111-II was the first to be given a single-arm wiper. In 1982 it was used as standard equipment in the “Baby-Benz” (model series W 201), albeit significantly modified: sophisticated kinematics even brought the arm into the upper corners for a very large wiper area.

8 – Sight and light: There are windscreen wipers for headlamps as well as for the windscreen. In conjunction with a wiper washer nozzle for cleaning the lenses, they are found, for example, in the model series 116 S-Class or in the 107 model series SL/SLC. For good vision also extends to the lights.

From 1 September, Mercedes-Benz Museum will be open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The ticket desk always closes at 5 p.m.
Registrations, reservations and the latest information: Monday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. by telephone on +49 711 17 30000, by email to or online at


This site is sponsored by Flying Tiger Racing