Mary Anderson actually hails from the South where vehicles were not that common at the beginning of the 20th century. Therefore, she was not the one that was likely to discover the windshield wiper that automobiles use so extensively at present. The fact that she ended up filing her patent even before Henry Ford began to manufacture vehicles further accentuated this notion. However, it was really unfortunate that she was unable to take any advantage of the financial benefits because of her astounding discovery which she made while she was alive, and she does not find a prominent place in the automobile history whatsoever.

Early Life of Mary Anderson

Besides the date and the location of the birth of Mary Anderson (she arrived in this world in Alabama in the year 1866), her life is actually a controversial one – in fact, none knows for sure who her parents were or what were their professions, for instance – till around the year 1889, when Mary assisted in building the Fairmont Apartments on Highland Avenue in Birmingham. Amongst the other detours of Mary Anderson, a span of time she spent in the city of Fresno in California, where she was engaged in running a cattle ranch as well as vineyard till 1898 deserves special mention.

We believe that Mary inherited a large property from of one her aunts around the year 1900. She ended up venturing out to New York City with the ambition of making use of this huge sum of money in the midst of the cold winter months in the year 1903.

The “Window Cleaning Tool”

Mary Anderson got some innovative idea during her tour of the New York City. She was commuting by car on the street while it was snowing and she noticed the agonizing behavior of the driver of the vehicle who was likewise feeling cold as well. He applied all types of tricks to combat this problem like sticking his head out of the car’s window and halting in the middle of the journey for cleaning the windshield only to see where he was actually driving. Mary came back to Alabama when the trip was over and she tried to solve the problem she witnessed in New York. She ended up designing a windshield blade which would link itself to the car’s interior thus enabling the driver to control the wiper of the windshield without even coming out of the vehicle.

She received the prestigious U.S. Patent No. 743,801 for her extraordinary invention which aided in removing ice, snow, or sleet from the vehicles’ windows effectively. Unfortunately, no one was much interested in her concept that time. She approached quite a few companies which included a Canadian manufacturing firm that did not show any interest in her because of an absence of demand. Being frustrated, she did not push the product anymore and her patent ceased to exist after 14 years of the contract in 1920. That time, there was a huge demand for windshield wipers on the market; and Anderson permitted businessmen and other corporations to gain access to her initial conception.

Mary Anderson breathed her last in the city of Birmingham in the year 1953 when she was 87 years of age.