screeched and horns sounded as a blue sedan whizzed past the Model Garage
tow car, cut in sharply to avoid a truck and crashed through the white fence
bordering the well-paved highway.
moment, Gus Wilson and his partner, Joe Clark, were speechless. Then
Gus slid the garage car to a stop and both men hurried back to the wreck.
of the truck trotted toward them from the opposite direction.
"Are you O.
K.?" Gus asked as a small man, holding a red-stained handkerchief to his
face, climbed out of the ditched car and stood grinning sheepishly.
this cut," said the man, uncovering a gash over one eye. "The blamed
windshield seemed to explode right in my face when I hit that fence.
lost control. I didn't see that truck when I started to pass you."
better get you to a doctor," the truck driver put in. "Cuts like that
are nothing to fool with."
cuts all right. How about the car?" he asked as he surveyed the
wrecked machine in the ditch.
a shattered windshield and a badly crumpled fender and headlight, nothing
vital appeared to be damaged.
bent the mangled mudguard clear of the wheel and climbed into the driver's
windshield sure contains a heap of glass," remarked Gus as he carefully
brushed the glass splinters from the seat. "The whole car's sprayed
telling me?" said the injured driver. "When I hit, that windshield
just disintegrated. I'll be picking it out of my hair for months."
carefully backed the car onto the road. "Joe," he said, "suppose you
drive Mr. - er - "
supplied the man. "Lives just a few blocks from your garage."
you drive, Mr. Kennedy home in his car and I'll follow in the wrecker,"
"And if I
were you, Mr. Kennedy, I'd
see a doctor first thing."
"The car can
wait. Bring it around tomorrow and I'll look it over. Probably
all its needs is a new windshield and a little ironing out on that fender."
standing in the garage office doorway the next morning when Kennedy patched
and bandaged, arrived.
I am," he called in answer to Gus's greeting. "Now that I'm all
mended, I guess I'll treat the car to a few repairs."
cut?" Gus asked, indicating the bandage over Kennedy's eye.
says I'll have a scar, though. Had to take four stitches to close it
the car into the repair shop and started a systematic inspection of the
wheels, brakes, and steering gear.
your car got off easier than you did," he said as he tested the wheel
bearings. "Outside of that busted windshield and folded fender, she's
O. K. If that windshield had been as up-to-date as the rest of the
car, you'd have escaped without a scratch."
nothing as he ambled across the repair shop and disappeared through the
storeroom door. When he reappeared, he was holding two squares of
difference between these?" he asked holding out the two glass sheets.
held the two samples to the light, looking first through one and than the
other. "They look alike to me," he said, "excepting for the black
strip along the edge of this one."
the two sections of glass on the repair bench picked up a heavy wrench, and
stepped back about four paces. "Now watch," he said.
his arm in a wide arc, he flung the heavy wrench at one of the glass
squares. Kennedy ducked as glass showered down on the repair bench.
you expect it to do, bounce?" Kennedy said, obviously puzzled by the
answering, the gray-haired mechanic tossed the wrench at the second square
of glass. Cracks darted from the point where the tool hit, but the
glass did not shatter. Instead it held its shape as the wrench
exclaimed Kennedy, "I've seen shatter-proof glass before, but it was always
brown and cloudy-looking. I thought those two pieces of glass were cut
from the same sheet."
had a windshield made of that stuff," said Gus, "you'd have saved a doctor's
bill and a mean gash over your eye to boot."
secret of the stuff?" inquired Kennedy as he examined the cracked surface of
the safe glass.
secret," replied Gus. "Safe glass is made of two polished pieces of
plate glass cemented to a center sheet of transparent plastic material like
celluloid. This center sheet is tough yet pliable and holds the outer
and inner glass in place when it cracks.
edging," Gus continued, "is a waterproof cement that seals over the edge of
the plastic filler. After the two sheets of plate glass and the center
sheet are bonded together under pressure and heat, the sheet of safety glass
is dipped in acid. The acid gets away the plastic filler and forms a
shallow groove around the sheet.
is forced in this groove, the plastic center is sealed in airtight.
Moisture and air can't get at it."
standing in the garage door-way, listened intently as his partner explained
the process. "Do you know how they discovered the stuff?" he called
when Gus had finished.
thirty years ago some French scientist was using a sort of liquid celluloid
in his work. One day he forgot to cork the bottle. Of course the
liquid evaporated and left a thin layer of celluloid, or something like it,
on the inside of the glass bottle. He put the bottle aside and forgot
about it until one day he accidentally knocked it from the shelf. It
crashed to the ground, but instead of smashing to bits, it shattered,
holding its shape. The hardened liquid held the cracked bits of glass
in place. That gave him an idea and shortly after shatterproof glass
doesn't all glass of that kind get discolored after a time?" Kennedy
told him. "The seal I just told you about stops discoloration to a
great extent and a new type of transparent filler sheet has been developed
that's not affected by the sun's rays. Good shatter-proof glass will
stay clear as long as it's intact."
doubt that safe glass is a wonderful thing," Kennedy agreed, "but it costs a
lot of dough."
his head. "But it's an investment, a safety investment," he pointed
percent of all the injuries in automobile accidents come from flying glass.
thirty bucks isn't much to spend to make your car fifty percent safer to
ride in, is it? One good smash-up, when you have a car full of people,
will cost you a lot more than that in doctor's bills alone.
paying a doctor right now and accidents like yours can happen any time.
Generally it won't be your fault, either."
you're right," said Kennedy after a pause. "Suppose you fix my car up
with it. With children in the family, safety means something."
windshield?" Gus asked glancing at Kennedy.
your life!" Kennedy replied, "If I do it at all, I'll do it right. Put
in safe glass all round."
said Gus as he wrote out the order. "Safety isn't something to buy in
parts. Put it in front, back and sides and driving a car will be less
of a worry to you."