THE HISTORY OF THE SEATBELT VICTOR VIGODSKI
The safety belt was first invented at the beginning of the 19th century by the English aeronautical engineer Sir George Cayley (1773-1857) for his glider, which successfully transported human beings for the first time. Over a century later, in 1949, the American car company Nash began to offer seatbelts to consumers and they were fitted as an option in some Ford models for the first time in 1955. In 1958, the Swedish firm Saab was the first to fit seatbelts as standard, but they were two-point belts that simply restrained the chest. An early three-point safety belt restraining the chest and the lap by an additional belt had, however, previously been designed by two Americans, Roger Griswold and Hugh De Haven, in 1951. However, once again, the buckle remained in the middle.
On August 13th 1959, the first car to be produced with a standard fitted three-point safety belt rolled off the Volvo production lines in Sweden. The three-point safety belt was invented by the Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin (1920-2002) who was employed at the time as Volvo’s first ever safety engineer.
Nils Bohlin was the first to design a three-point safety belt that fastened by the occupant’s hip rather than over the abdomen. Buckles, which were previously placed over the abdomen, often caused internal injuries in high-speed crashes. Bohlin had previously worked for the aircraft maker Saab where he helped to develop ejection seats and used his experience there to design a model that would be easy and fast to use.
The three-point safety belt is still being used today.