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Homepage. This page: From the mid 1920s and part of Lucas' Motoralities range of car accessories, the automatic windscreen wiper.

The Lucas automatic vacuum windscreen wiper.

In the 1920s, motor-car owners (or usually the owner's driver) made do with none of the modern conveniences we enjoy behind the wheel now, often perched out in the elements, relying on cosy garments to stave off the chill.
Many cars had hand-operated windscreen wiping mechanisms, not ideal when one's hands could be better employed changing gear, adjusting the ignition timing via the advance and retard lever, or simply keeping the automobile heading in approximately the right direction, avoiding potholes and errant horsey types who were very much a regular feature on the largely unmade roads of the time.
The canny Joseph Lucas came up with a good number of motoring accessories, under the title of Motoralities, that were designed to make the paid chauffeur's, or the owner-driver's, life behind the wheel a little more tolerable. Once such example is the 'Automatic Windscreen Wiper' as shown here, from the mid 1920s. This vacuum-powered gadget, quote: "operates by suction from the induction pipe. Of non-ferrous metal, heavily nickel-plated, it will not rust. It fits the same bolt holes as our hand-wiper, therefore can be fixed in a few minutes to cars which have the hand-wiper. Complete with tubing, clips and connections. 21/-"
Vacuum-operated wipers would go on to feature on many production saloons in later years, notably certain Fords, that stayed with this method of powered screen wiping right to the end of the 1950s. A simple system, the downside was that on climbing a hill, where acceleration might be called for, the wipers would slow to a crawl. During the downward descent, the wipers would switch in an instant, becoming a hectic and frenzied blur over the surface of the screen, and it wasn't unknown for the blade to fly off and either disappear in a hedgerow, or beneath the wheels of a following vehicle.
Lucas vacuum windscreen wiper
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