Who invented the windshield wiper?

We depend on windshield wipers to help us navigate the roads during rainy weather.  They also come in handy to clean gunk off of our windshields.  So, who invented the trusty windshield wiper?  

In 1902, Mary Anderson was visiting New York City from Alabama.  Riding a streetcar while it was snowing made her wonder - What if there were some sort of blade that could wipe off the windshield without making the driver get out of the streetcar?

Anderson went back to Birmingham, made a sketch of her device, and wrote up a description of it. Then she applied for a patent.  The patent application describes how the wiper was to be operated by a handle inside the vestibule of the motor car and be easily removable.

The application was filed on June 18, 1903. On November 10, 1903, the United States Patent Office awarded Anderson patent number 743,801 for her Window Cleaning Device.  Although she didn't get any money for her invention, at least she finally got some credit. In 2011 she was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame.


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