Have you ever stopped to think about how seat belts came to be? Maybe you haven’t, but as an important part of your, we wanted to dig into it. The seat belt was officially invented in the late 1800s by George Cayley. George was an English Engineer who originally created belts to help keep pilots in their gliders. The first patented seat belt was created by Edward J. Claghorn in February of 1885 to keep tourists safe in taxis in New York City. Over time, manufacturers started slowly incorporating seat belts into cars to help keep passengers and drivers safe while seated in their cars.
While they were originally invented in the late 1800s, it wasn’t until the mid-1930’s when U.S. physicians started testing lap belts. They saw how seat belts impacted people in cars and began urging car manufacturers to provide seat belts in their cars.
In 1954, the Sports Car Club of America required their competitive drivers to wear lap belts during competitions and in the following year, SAE (the Society of Automotive Engineers) chose a Motor Vehicle Seat Belt Committee to begin some important work. So, race car drivers were really the first ones to wear seat belt to help protect them again serious injuries.
The modern seat belt as we know it came to be in 1958 when Swedish Engineer Nils Bohlin invented the three-point seat belt. Until that point, seat belts and lap belts only had two-points. The newer three-point system better protects everyone in the car when an accident occurs, securing the upper and the lower body.
Since 1966, American vehicles are required to have seat belts in cars and by 1975, many other countries in the world also had seat belt requirements. We hope you enjoyed this riveting history of the seat belt!