The Wind, The Bugs, And The Windshield Wipers
The Wind, The Bugs, And The Windshield Wipers
by Ann Nguyen
Come Rainy Day.
A great idea may revolutionize the world,
but it will not
yield any results until blood and sweat are given as down payment. If you're not willing to do this, then forget
about the idea as it may only end up becoming a constant reminder of your failure.
This was a harsh reality too real for two inventors, women in fact. During a time when being women practically give them no rights or prestigious creditability, they did the oddest things; they invented. In fact, their inspirations soon became a necessity for all cars. The windshield wipers may seem like nothing to us now, but without this “nothing,” driving would be nearly impossible in rainy or snowy day. Even when it's not raining or snowing, there are bugs to account for. On certain highway roads, with lusty, flying nuisances on your path searching for mates, you'll thank heaven you've got windshields wipers. You have never been? Try it then. The juicy dead bodies tell no lies. So what happen?
In 1903, Mary Anderson invented the first manual windshield wipers, but then let it lapsed in copyright protections when she couldn't sell the idea to companies. Who would buy it? They all thought she was nut. A typical traveling speed back then was so ridiculous, you would more likely swallow a bug than kill one (Choking have been known to happen frequently. Remember most cars did not have a top ). After a while, Anderson had to give up. Being called a nut can wear anybody down. It can also ruin a gal's social life. However, a great idea never died so easily thought the person can. Even thought Anderson gave up, another female took up the flame. In 1917, Charlotte Bridgwood reinvented the manual windshield and made it more automatic. Yet once again, through much resistant, she never got it through the door either. Why? It's worked. It was reasonably useful even with the low travel speed. Maybe it wasn't enough just to create and say "here it is". They have to shout it! "Here it is! I made this and damn proud of it!" Sadly, it weren't easy, and she too gave up. Then again, did she, like Anderson, truly gave up or is there more to the story that we just don't know anything about?
Being a woman in the nineteen century, would anyone take her seriously? Even if the male dominated giant industry do, would they even acknowledge it? Back then, the thinking were different. People, in general, did not believe in women's engineering ability, and a company had a image to protect. Not only were they fighting a resistance against giant companies, they were fighting against the norms of society. How sad huh? We, as female, are just as smart, and deserved just as much credit. Had they been alive during our time, they might have gotten more say as inventors. It's all about the timing, right?
Yet had they not been there in the beginning to crack the door open a little for women's right, would we be where we are today? And without women, would first world countries be where they are today? Look at all the third world countries out there? They are usually countries where women had no equal rights or equal opportunities. They are poor because women are just birth machines. They are poor because women are not equal workforce that contribute to a family income. They are poor because they don't allow for collaboration, creativity, and genius of being a female. As a female, we think differently than male. Male can never think like a female because they are not female. When countries cut off half of the gender, they cut off half of their natural resources. Overpopulation, lack of ideas, resources, and workforces, will stall a country from growing into it's full potential. Let's not digress any further, point made.
Sadly in the end, the automobile companies got a freebie that could have yielded the ladies millions of dollars in royalty. Even thought Anderson and Bridgwood died voiceless, only a few pages on the search engines noting their great deeds, they did something great. They had stood up and voiced, "I am female, but I can be as equally smart as any male." Had they hid behind their husbands, would it have been different? Maybe or maybe not.
By 1969, windshields were installed in all cars, but it was inefficient, constantly moving, distracting the drivers. Here was where Robert Kearns jumped in. He invented the intermittent windshield wiper systems. Kearns had basically created a way for the wipers to pause in between, making it less distractive. However, when he proposed it to Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Corporation, they use his idea and refused to pay him. From Kearns example, even male can be taken advantage of. It was just the norm of the time for big corporations to have unregulated powers.
But Kearns never gave up fighting against the automobiles giants. It's took him years and a lot of patient, gust, and persistence to be heard. His lawsuits against Ford and Chrysler finally made him a multimillionaire, a combination of $28.9 million dollars to be exact. It wasn't over night or easy, but he persisted through it all and got all that he deserved.
Remember, it maybe difficult, but never go down regretting.
1. Mary Anderson, Inventor of Manual Windshield Wipers
2. Charlotte Bridgwood
3. Robert Kearns, Inventor of Intermittent Windshield Wipers