From cosmetic fixes with oil-based fluids to groundbreaking innovations, the evolution of windshield repair is a captivating tale of perseverance and progress.
The Early Days: Windshield repair technology emerged with the development of laminated safety glass in the 1930s. However, until the early 1970s, repair options were limited, often just cosmetic, involving oil-based fluids to fill and “hide” damage, hardly a lasting solution.
The First Repair System: In 1971, the 3M Company introduced the “Scotch Weld” system, which employed ultrasound vibrations and resin injection to repair windshield damage. While it successfully handled “bullseye” damage, it was large and expensive.
The Novus Innovation: In 1972, Origin Inc. introduced a groundbreaking repair process. This innovation was licensed and further developed, eventually leading to the establishment of Novus Inc. Novus played a pivotal role in pioneering windshield repair, collaborating with insurance companies, fleet operators, and repair-only specialists.
Glass Medic’s Vacuum System: In the mid-1970s, Glass Medic introduced a “vacuum pump” repair system. This innovative approach led to significant adoption within the industry.
Proliferation of Repair Companies: As the 1970s ended, more companies entered the windshield repair landscape. Clear Star, Glas-Weld Systems, Kemxert, and others joined the fray, each contributing to the industry’s growth.
Auto Glass Replacement Companies: In the early 1980s, Harmon Glass, Auto Glass Specialists, and other major auto glass replacement companies produced and sold their repair equipment. These established players recognized the potential of windshield repair.
Industry Pioneers: Entrepreneurs began offering repair services and developing their own resins and tools. Companies like Delta Kits, Liquid Resins International, Tri Glass, Glass Mechanix, and Ultra Bond played pivotal roles.
Global Growth: Windshield repair’s acceptance and expansion weren’t confined to the United States. It became an established practice worldwide, especially in Europe, with companies like Belron’s Carglass and Autoglass leading the way.
Repair vs. Replacement Marketing: Today, windshield repair is recognized and embraced not only in the United States but also around the world. Repair has become a standard offering by auto glass service providers, and its continued growth is driven by cost savings and product benefits.