The first windshield wipers were invented by Mary Anderson in 1903. The modern intermittent windshield wipers that are seen on cars made after 1969 were invented by Robert Kearns.
The patent for the first windshield cleaning device was granted to Anderson after she noticed that when it rained or snowed, drivers had to open their car windows to see. The original device was a rubber arm that connected to a lever inside the car. By 1916, they were standard on all American cars. Between 1917 and 1921, updates made windshield wipers automatic.
Kearns filed his first patent for the first intermittent windshield wipers in 1964. They were installed on all cars after 1969. Kearns won patent infringement cases against Ford and Chrysler for using his idea after they had rejected his proposals.