Mary Anderson (inventor)


Mary Anderson (inventor)
Mary Anderson
Born 1866
Greene County, Alabama
Died 1953 (aged 87)
Monteagle, Tennessee
Occupation Inventor

Mary Anderson (1866–1953[1]) was a real estate developer, rancher, viticulturist and inventor of the windshield wiper blade. In November 1903 Anderson was granted her first patent[2] for an automatic car window cleaning device controlled inside the car, called the windshield wiper.[3]

Early life

Mary Anderson was born in Greene County, Alabama, at the start of Reconstruction in 1866. In 1889 she moved with her widowed mother and sister to the booming town of Birmingham, Alabama. She built the Fairmont Apartments on Highland Avenue soon after settling in. By 1893, Mary Anderson had moved west to Fresno, California where until 1898 she operated a cattle ranch and vineyard.[1]

Invention of the windshield wiper

In a visit to New York City in the winter of 1902, while sitting in a trolley car on a frosty day, she observed that the motorman drove with the front window open because of difficulty keeping the windshield clear of falling sleet. When she returned to Alabama she hired a designer for a hand-operated device to keep a windshield clear[1] and had a local company produce a working model. She applied for, and in 1903 was granted, a 17-year patent for a windshield wiper.[1] Her device consisted of a lever with a rubber blade. The lever could be operated from inside a vehicle to cause the spring-loaded arm to move back and forth across the windshield. Similar devices had been made earlier, but Anderson's was the first to be effective.[4]

In 1905 she tried to sell the rights through a noted Canadian firm, but they rejected her application, saying "we do not consider it to be of such commercial value as would warrant our undertaking its sale." After the patent expired in 1920 and the automobile manufacturing business grew exponentially, windshield wipers using Anderson's basic design became standard equipment.[citation needed]

Later life

Anderson resided in Birmingham, where she continued to manage the Fairground Apartments until her death at the age of 87. She almost died from common day flu at age 85. At the time of her death she was the oldest member of South Highland Presbyterian Church. She died at her summer home in Monteagle, Tennessee. Her funeral was conducted by Dr. Frank A. Mathes at South Highland and she was buried at Elmwood Cemetery.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Obituary, Birmingham Post-Herald, June 29, 1953
  2. ^ United States Patent 743,801, Issue Date: November 10, 1903
  3. ^ Women Hold Patents on Important Inventions; USPTO recognizes inventive women during Women's History Month, United States Patent and Trademark Office press release #02-16, March 1, 2002, accessed March 3, 2009
  4. ^ Mary Anderson: Windshield Wipers, September 2001, Inventor of the Week Archive, Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Engineering website, accessed March 3, 2009

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mary Anderson — may refer to: Mary Anderson (stage actress) (1859–1940) Mary Anderson (film actress) (born 1920) Mary Anderson (inventor) (1866 1953) Mary Anderson (figure skater) (born 1926) Mary Anderson (Mayor, Kinney, MN) (1915–2007) Mary Anderson (author)… …   Wikipedia

  • Mary Anderson (Erfinderin) — Mary Anderson (* 1866 in Greene County, Alabama; † 1953 in Monteagle, Tennessee)[1] war Bauunternehmerin, Rancherin, Winzerin und Erfinderin der Scheibenwischanlage. Im November 1903 erhielt die Amerikanerin Mary Anderson das Patent[2] auf die… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mary Lucas — Mary Anderson Lucas née Juler (b. 1882, d. 1952) was an English composer. She studied in Dresden and at the Royal Conservatory of Music with Herbert Howells and R.O. Morris. She married entrepreneur and inventor Ralph Lucas in 1903 and her son… …   Wikipedia

  • Mary-Claire King — Born 1946 Illinois, United States Residence United States Nation …   Wikipedia

  • List of people from Birmingham, Alabama — This is a list of individuals who are natives of, or are notable in association with the city of Birmingham, Alabama.Academia*Roland Frye, scholar *Carol Garrison, president of UABArts Literature* John Beecher, activist poet * Allen Barra,… …   Wikipedia

  • Essuie-glace — Bras et lame d essuie glace Un essuie glace est un dispositif mécanique essuyant la pluie et les projections sur un pare brise. Presque tous les véhicules à moteur, parmi lesquels les automobiles, les trains, certains avions et bateaux, sont… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • List of inventors — This is a list of inventors. See also: List of scientists, Timeline of invention, List of inventions named after people, List of inventors killed by their own inventions, and . Alphabetical list compactTOC NOTOC A * Vitaly Mikhaylovich Abalakov,… …   Wikipedia

  • List of United States inventions — 1700s1731 Sextant * The sextant is an astronomical instrument that is used to determine latitude for navigation. It does this by measuring angular distances, like the altitude of the sun, moon and stars. The sextant was invented independently in… …   Wikipedia

  • Alfred Lawson — Alfred W. Lawson Alfred William Lawson (* 24. März 1869 in London; † 29. November 1954 in San Antonio) war ein US amerikanischer Baseballspieler und manager, Luftfahrtpionier, Autor, Erfinder einer allumfassenden …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • August 7 — The Northern Hemisphere is considered to be halfway through its summer and the Southern Hemisphere half way through its winter on this day.Events*322 BC Battle of Crannon between Athens and Macedon following the death of Alexander the Great.… …   Wikipedia