Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Woman Who Invented Windshield Wipers.

Latta, Sara L.  The Woman Who Invented Windshield Wipers.  Enslow  2014 48p  $23.93  ISBN 978-0-7660-4203-2  series: Inventors at Work  elem/ms  E-BN

Mary Anderson took her personal observations about the difficulties faced by those who had to have a clear view from their vehicles in order to drive safely and devised the first windshield wiper.  She patented the invention but was unable to sell it.  The need for wipers on Model T’s finally allowed another person to sell the idea, and since then wipers have improved, offering electric versions and appearing on the windshields of many different types of vehicles, and sometimes even appearing on headlights.  There is a timeline of Mary’s life, a timeline of additional wiper improvements, a chapter on what it takes to become an inventor, a glossary, lists for further reading, and an index.  Black-and-white (due to the era in which the photo was taken) and color photos augment the text.  The concluding pages show windshield wipers on a variety of vehicles. This widely used invention receives scant attention in other books.

Inventors at Work looks at the inspiration for each device, its inventor, and how it finally arrived in mass production.  Each device will be familiar to students. Each book has a timeline, glossary, lists for further reading, an index and many illustrations/photos.  

Summary: This book describes the life of Mary Anderson, the first person to patent the windshield wiper.  Even though she was not able to sell her product, the book traces how and why the windshield wiper became a profitable business and how it has morphed over the years. Grades 4-9   

Women inventors, Automobile inventions                --Lois McNicol

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