The first Iowa and Iowa State games are in the books, along with the Des Moines Concours d’Elegance. Hershey is rapidly coming up. Hershey is always a great time. This year I’m driving out with Wes Renard who I know through the Heart of Iowa T’s Model T club. Wes owns a 1909 Mason, built in Des Moines. A story about the Mason will be a subject in a future Battery Post. I know many of you have enjoyed Hershey at one time or another. Maralee Sarasio always has stories to tell about her and Jack’s time there. Hershey may be a subject for one of our winter gatherings.
For this Battery Post, I wanted to write about Mary Anderson. I first heard about her on the radio in a random facts segment. Mary Anderson was the inventor of the windshield wiper. She was born in Alabama and in the winter of 1903 took a trip to New York City. It was during a ride on a streetcar that she noticed the driver having issues seeing out the windshield. When she returned to Alabama, she drew a design for a spring-loaded, lever-operated system that would allow a driver to operate the wiper from inside a vehicle. She filed a patent application in 1903 for her “window cleaning device for electric cars and other vehicles to remove snow, ice, or sleet from the window”. She was awarded U.S. Patent No. 743,801. However, she was unable to garner interest in her idea. The perception was that there would be a lack of demand for it. Boy, she needed the TV show Shark Tank and Mark Cuban to help her out! Too bad neither were around at the time. She would let her patent expire in 1920.
The intermittent wiper was invented by Robert Kearns. The story goes that in 1953 while celebrating his wedding, he was struck in the eye with a cork. He suffered vision issues afterwards, especially when driving in the rain. He realized that when humans blink, its intermittent. Applying this concept to windshield wipers, he filed for patents in 1964. Apparently, he mounted his intermittent wipers to his own Ford Galaxie and so impressed the Ford engineers that they sent him out of the room to prove he wasn’t activating the wipers! His invention would be stolen, but he would eventually win patent infringement suits against Ford and Chrysler.
My apologies to the club for missing events the past two months. I want to thank our Board members Julie, Harvey, Dave, Wayne, Dean, Jack and Bill for leading and helping with the success of those events. It’s reassuring that the club has a Board that is committed and works as a team. I deeply appreciate their effort and ideas.
All the best,