The First Windscreen Washers ?

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Sir,
Amongst the list of Claimed American “firsts” reported in Motor Sport for December, I was interested to note the claim that Studebaker were first with windscreen washers, offered as an option in 1937. I owned a 1935 Triumph Gloria for a long time, on which I found this feature included when I bought it in 1947.

It used a manually operated diaphragm type pump mounted on the steering column, connected by flexible rubber tubing to a small-bore metal pipe which passed through the top of the windscreen frame over the offside wiper, then continued across the outside of the frame to terminate over the nearside wiper.

Two small metal plates attaching the pipe to the windscreen were located respectively over the two discharge orifices and were shaped so that they served also to deflect the wash down the windscreen. The pump drew its water supply from the radiator header tank, to which it was connected via small-bore copper tubing and a take-off union about three-quarters of the way up the tank. The construction and finish of the installation were such that it was obviously a manufactured and not a home-made product. Inquiry of the previous owner has revealed that it was on the car when he bought it in 1941.

With other preoccupations current amongst our manufacturers at the time, I feel it unlikely that it would be produced between 1939 and 1941, so that it is probably at least pre-war, even if not fitted to the car as standard in 1935.

Would any other readers know more about this ?

Coundon. A.F. Poynton

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