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History of Seat Belts


Girl (5-7) in ballet outfit playing video game in backseat of car
Longview/ Stone/ Getty images
The first U.S. patent for automobile seat beats was issued to Edward J. Claghorn of New York, New York on February 10, 1885. Claghorn was granted United States Patent #312,085 for a Safety-Belt for tourists, described in the patent as "designed to be applied to the person, and provided with hooks and other attachments for securing the person to a fixed object."

Nils Bohlin & Modern Seat Belts

Swedish inventor, Nils Bohlin invented the three-point seat belt - not the first but the modern seat belt - now a standard safety device in most cars. Nils Bohlin's lap-and-shoulder belt was introduced by Volvo in 1959.

Seat Belt Terminology

  • 2-Point Seat Belt: A restraint system with two attachment points. A lap belt.
  • 3-Point Seat Belt: A seat belt with both a lap and a shoulder portion, having three attachment points (one shoulder, two hips).
  • Lap Belt: A seat belt anchored at two points, for use across the occupant's thighs/hips.
  • Lap/Shoulder Belt: A seat belt that is anchored at three points and restrains the occupant at the hips and across the shoulder; also called a "combination belt".

Car Seats - Child Restraints

The first child car seats were invented in 1921, following the introduction of the Henry Ford's Model T, however, they were very different from today's car seat. The earliest versions were essentially sacks with drawstring attached to the back seat. In 1978, Tennessee became the first American State to require child safety seat use.

Continue with >>> The History of the Automobile

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