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July 10, 1962 – Three point seatbelt is patented

Nils Bohlin received a US patent for his three-point automobile safety belt “for use in vehicles, especially road vehicles” on this day in 1962. Volvo had hired the Swedish engineer four years earlier, making him the company’s first chief safety engineer. Seatbelts at that time were rarely used outside of auto racing because the current lap belt style often resulted in major internal injuries in the event of an accident. To remedy the problem Bohlin designed the three point system used today that holds both the upper and lower parts of the body in place in the event of an accident. The U.S. Patent Office issued Patent No. 3,043,625 to “Nils Ivar Bohlin, Goteborg, Sweden, assignor to Aktiebolaget Volvo.” In the patent Bohlin explained his new seatbelt design, “The object… is to provide a safety belt which independently of the strength of the seat and its connection with the vehicle in an effective and physiologically favorable manner retains the upper as well as the lower part of the body of the strapped person against the action of substantially forwardly directed forces and which is easy to fasten and unfasten and even in other respects satisfies rigid requirements.”
Photo: Nils Bohlin demonstrating his invention

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