If you've been wondering what part of the modern automobile is the most overlooked and underappreciated, the answer is clear: the glass.
1900s – 1920s: The Early Cars
If you looked at the earliest motor cars from the turn of the century (and by that, we mean 1900) many did not have windshields like what we have today. The designs of the time were open to the elements; most cars or horseless carriages were nothing more than a bench on top of a chassis with a simple engine, a transmission, and wheels. The steering wheel wasn't even invented yet; some early motor cars used tillers.
Windshields weren't really needed. As you can imagine, cars from the era were not fast; we're talking about a 15 km/h maximum speed. Today, that's the average speed of a car in heavy traffic. Even the world's fastest sprinters can run at over 30 km/h on a 100-meter course.
But as cars got faster and faster, some kind of protection became necessary. Drivers and passengers started wearing goggles to protect their eyes as early cars picked up speed, but that wasn't a total solution. They still had to deal with dust (roads weren't paved at the time), debris, and bugs.
General Research Division, The New York Public Library. "1915 - Oldsmobile - Model 43, 4 cylinders." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1916. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47db-bab2-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
That paved the way for the use of glass in automobiles. The first automobile windshields or windscreens started appearing in 1904. One auto manufacturer even started making this feature standard in 1915, but really the glass was not that much different from the kind used in home windows or even kitchenware. This early auto glass offered basic protection against the elements but was prone to shattering into thousands of sharp pieces. As you can imagine, that's not good.
1930s: The Breakthrough
In the 1930s, a development happened that changed the field of auto glass: lamination. Necessity is the mother of invention, but sometimes it's totally by accident... like champagne. In the case of laminated automobile glass, it's the same. A French artist and innovator by the name of Édouard Bénédictus invented laminated glass by total accident: he dropped a glass flask containing a chemical compound for liquid plastic. He tried to clean it up but realized that the chemical had bonded the pieces of glass together and thus the first laminated glass was born.
This became known as PVB, or Polyvinyl Butyral. This changed the game in auto glass, as it prevented the glass from shattering into thousands of pieces upon any impact. And then automakers started to use curved glass to make their cars more stylish in the 1940s.
1950s: Aguila Takes Flight
In the Philippines, motoring was starting to get underway again in the post-war era, and in the 1950s this demand created a need for a shop to cater to the many cars already plying the roads.
On February 18, 1952, Atty. Lauro Aguila and his wife Maria Aguila heeded the call and opened the Universal Glass Company at 1141 to 1143 Rizal Avenue in Manila. The store had a humble 150 meters of space, importing glass to service their customers. They maintained a 500-square-meter warehouse to serve the booming motoring scene in 1950s Manila. Many customers were driving American cars like Fords, Chevrolets, Studebakers, Buicks, and the like.
1960s: Elevated Safety Standards
In the 1960s, sweeping changes were made to the standards for cars, and standards were also set for automobile glass. These changes started in the United States with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, or FMVSS. Things like strength, clarity, windshield retention strength, windshield penetration and rigidity were all specified under the changing rules.
Aguila provided customers with the glass to keep them safe under the new standards. Aguila supplied them all from tempered to laminated glass to ensure that Filipino motorists were at the forefront of safety and clarity.
Onwards To The Modern Day
Glass was further improved as science pushed further advances in technology. Today's modern laminated glass use more sophisticated compounds to add a layer of UV protection and enhanced shatterproof qualities. This glass is used in the front windshield and rear windshield; sometimes manufacturers even use it for the side windows. Tempered glass is also still very much in use today. If you look at the glass on your car doors, there's a good chance you can see a label that reads "tempered".
Aguila Auto Glass -the first and foremost name in auto glass in the Philippines- has been a witness to many of these technological developments and innovations in automobile safety.
“It's truly an honor to have served Filipino motorists for 70 years,” said Ms. Sophia B. Mirasol, president and CEO of Universal Glass Co., Inc. “Auto glass is an essential part of making sure our cars and our families are safe and comfortable on the road, and we're here to make sure you have the glass you can trust for your daily drive and weekend adventures.”
Today, Aguila Auto Glass carries a wide variety of automobile glass for many of the major makes and models available in the Philippines. Be it tempered or laminated, they have it for you, and Aguila now offers a wide variety of payment options such as cash, credit card, debit card, online bank-to-bank transfers, GCash, Maya, GrabPay, and ShopeePay.
If you need to have your windshield replaced, don't wait. Log on to www.aguilaautoglass.com or visit any of their official Aguila Glass outlets nationwide.