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Mary Anderson

Mary AndersonMary Anderson Mary Anderson (1866–1953) was an American property developer, cattle ranch manager and wine-grower. She was also the inventor of the windscreen wiper blade. In her device, a lever inside the car was connected to a spring-loaded arm with a rubber blade on the outside of the windscreen. The arm was fitted with a counterweight to ensure wiper was always pressed against the glass. Anderson received a patent for her new invention in 1905, but was unable to find a buyer. In 1922, Cadillac became the first manufacturer to fit them on its cars. Today, wiper blades are an essential feature of all motor vehicles.


Patent for Anderson's inventionPatent for Anderson's invention

Wiper blades

In 1903, during a visit to New York City, Anderson noticed that the tram in which she was riding had an open front window—necessary to allow the driver to see the road in the sleeting conditions, but which made it uncomfortably cold for the passengers inside. So she set about designing a wiper consisting of a rubber blade attached to a spring-loaded arm that could move backwards and forwards across the windscreen.

Windscreen wipers on a 1954 carWindscreen wipers on a 1954 car

Anderson's first attempt at producing an effective wiper were not successful. The breakthrough came when she incorporated a rubber blade—an essential feature of squeegees used for cleaning windows.

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