One Hundred Years of Auto Glass Technology


Auto glass tends to be something most people think about only when they get a ding or a crack. But there is a century of technology that goes into your auto’s windshield. Here are some interesting facts about auto glass and how technology has improved it over the years.

Have you ever wondered what those black dots are on the perimeter of your windshield? There are neither a fancy type of antenna nor a bit of decoration. These black marks actually have a name and a purpose. According to this article on Yahoo News, these dots are actually called frits. “A frit is a painted black enamel that’s baked around the borders of a windscreen during the manufacturing process. They often start out as solid black bands near the edge, and gradually dissolve into small dots at the outer edge. They are seen on windshields and other parts of your car’s glass windows.”

Frits create a rougher surface on the edge of the glass so that the adhesive can stick. This creates a better bond between the car frame and the glass. Another service provided by frits is that they help block the sun’s ultraviolet rays from melting the adhesive, thus keeping the windows firmly in place.

A third purpose of frits is to, “help distribute temperature evenly to lessen optical distortion or lensing. This happens when the frit band (the solid black one) heats up much faster than the windshield’s glass, creating an optical distortion that makes either straight lines look curved or bowed inwards toward the center. Those gradually sinking black dots help lessen this phenomenon by dissipating the heat and spreading it out evenly.”

Frits are not the only innovation to auto glass since the days of the horseless carriage. Simple window glass was originally used to keep early automotive drivers and passengers comfortable. But it was anything but safe. The glass broke easily, and the shards were extremely dangerous. Laminated glass, which is glass attached to a film, was an improvement made in the 1920s. The glass would shatter but stay stuck to the film, preventing injury. Tempered glass, which is stronger, came along in the 1930s.

By the 1960s, automobile safety became a hot topic, and, in response, the U.S. government formed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 1970. Standards were set for roof rigidity, windshield retention strength during accidents, andthe required strength of automotive glass to keep occupants inside the vehicle during accidents.

NOVUS Glass has also made contributions to the auto glass industry. A desire to repair windshields, rather than toss them in the trash, inspired Dr. Frank Werner, with help from chemical engineer Bill Wiele, to create a process for auto glass repair. In 1985, NOVUS Glass became a full-fledged franchise company. NOVUS has been awarded more U.S. patents for windshield repair than the rest of the windshield repair industry combined. Click NOVUS Glass to learn more of the story.

Next time a rock hits your windshield, and you are able to continue driving, you cangive credit to auto glass technology for making your commute safer.