Objects | Inventions and Firsts


Demonstration windscreen wiper, 1911

Discovery Museum, Tyne and Wear


1900 – 1945

Whitley Bay photographer, Gladstone Adams, was inspired to invent a windscreen wiper after a difficult drive through a snowstorm in April 1908.

Adams was driving back from watching Newcastle play in the FA Cup final in London and had to keep stopping to clear his car’s windscreen. Eventually, he  folded the windscreen down so that he could see above it.

In 1911 he patented a “moving squeegee” which could be operated either by the hand or foot of the driver or automatically by the machinery of the car. This object is Adams’ original 1911 demonstration model of his windscreen wiper.

By Gladstone Adams (1880 – 1966)

On display at Discovery Museum, first floor Tyneside Challenge Gallery, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

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