This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

A woman before her time created a daily convenience

On a rainy day while out for a drive, you might not think too much about your windshield wipers swiping from left to right. We have Mary Anderson to thank for that.

A Look Back In Time

On a snowy day in New York, Mary was attempting to take in all the bustle of the city around her but the weather proved to be difficult. She noticed how even the trolley driver had trouble seeing and would frequently lean out the window or dust the snow off the windshield.

It would be nearly a year later on November 10th, 1902 that Mary received patent number US743801A, the first invention for a windshield wiper. In her early invention, a driver could simply pull a lever to activate the windshield wipers, but when she pitched her idea to motorcar companies, the men scoffed. In a letter response, one prideful motorcar company even stated there was no way this invention would be commercially useful.

It would be nearly a decade later when Cadillac became the first car company to widely accept windshield wipers as standard equipment for every car. Today, it is an expectation for every car! 

Inventor’s Impact

Mary had to persuade people who didn’t see a use for her invention, but the important part of her story is that she convinced the right people who listened to her ideas. The motorcar company that said no was not worth her time, and the ones that said yes brought us the daily convenience we take for granted today.

So next time you’re driving in foul weather, give a shout to Mary for her perseverance when no one else would listen.

We are on a mission


No more products available for purchase