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  • Writer's pictureJonnie Hendrickson

Car Manufacturers Once Said Windshield Wipers Have "No Commercial Value"

Updated: Mar 24, 2022

Buy 1 Get 1 Free on windshield wipers until April 30th

That title is hard to believe isn't it? Shockingly it's true.

On November 10th, 1903, the United States Patent Office issued patent #743,801 to a Miss Mary Anderson of Birmingham, Alabama. The paperwork granted her a 17 year patent for an invention that appeared to be just one more unremarkable idea destined to gather dust in some forlorn basement archive, languishing in a pile of discarded dreams.

This was the position of Dinning and Eckenstein, a major manufacturing and financing firm that received a sale of patent offer from Miss Anderson two years later in 1905. Their letter in response to her offer stated this belief in painfully plain terms,

“We beg to acknowledge receipt of your recent favor with reference to the sale of your patent. In reply we regret to state we do not consider it to be of such commercial value as would warrant our undertaking its sale.

And with that, Ms. Anderson's grand idea had been declared dead on arrival.

But some ideas just refuse to die. Some ideas survive the rejection, find their time, and live. Defying impossible odds, some ideas become so useful that they outlive even the memory of a life without them.

Over the next 50 years, Mary lived long enough to see her idea become ubiquitous in the burgeoning age of motor vehicles. Her invention? A hand-cranked radially-swinging-arm window cleaning device. A windshield wiper.

Original windshield wiper design submitted for patent by Mary Anderson in 1903

After a particularly cold and uncomfortable ride on a New York City streetcar, where the motorman was forced to lower his windshield altogether to see through the slush, snow and sleet, Miss Anderson sketched her concept, indignantly noting,

“There was no reason to let the foul weather in."

Despite the incredible evolution in transportation technology over the past 100 years, the windshield wiper has continued to be an integral convenience and safety feature for vehicles of every make, model and year.

This story illustrates that sometimes the most important things in our day-to-day life are precisely the things we take most forgranted. In an age where our vehicles are essentially tech and toy-filled computers on wheels, the safety and functionality afforded to us by our windshield wipers should not be overlooked.

Did you know that 97% of your driving decisions are based on vision?

Whether you drive a six figure Lambo or a common Camry, neither car can stay on the road in a rainstorm without working wipers. Leaving worn out or broken wiper blades on your vehicle not only restricts your vision but can also damage your windshield itself.

Are your wipers working properly? Is it time to replace them?

Here are 3 common signs your windshield wipers need to be replaced.

windshield wiper images portraying what skipping, streaking and squeaking issues look and sound like.


If a specific area of your windshield is always dirty, or if you see a series of vertical lines it’s a sign that the frame of your wiper may be bent or warped, causing it to “skip” across its path. The adhesive that binds the rubber to the blade may also have dissolved, resulting in poor contact against the glass.


Some streaking is normal, but a persistent film or layer of grime after using wiper fluid indicates the rubber has thinned or worn out and is failing to create a proper seal during operation.


That hair-raising “squeaking” or “chattering” sound when you flick your wipers on could be a sign that plastic or metal from the frame is scraping directly across the glass. This is indicative of a few potential issues. Your wiper blade may be striking the windshield at something other than a 90-degree angle. The racket could also be the result of the rubber pads being stiffened by extensive use and because of exposure to the elements.

Wiper blades should be inspected every 6 months and replaced at least once a year depending on the climate you drive in. Extreme heat, extreme cold, snow and ice buildup are a few of the obvious climate forces to consider. But how about all the sap from that canopy of trees you park under outside your home?

Another consideration is the type of blades you have. Most wipers are made from basic rubber, but some more hardy varieties are constructed out of halogen hardened rubber or silicon. Knowing which wipers your vehicle uses will help you discern the difference between them needing a quick clean or a total replacement.

Whatever your wiper situation is, right now at Super Lube, you can Buy 1 get 1 free on all windshield wipers from now until April 30th.

Also be sure to ask us about our new Die Hard Wiper Blades, which are backed by our exclusive No Slip, Streak or Tear 12 Month Guarantee only at Super Lube.

Drop in anytime and let us get you back in the driver seat safely, with a clear view of the road ahead. For half the price. And as you drive away, tip your hat to Mary Anderson and her unwillingness to let the foul weather affect her day.


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