Volvo invented the modern safety belt and gave the patent for free

MikesPhotos / Pixabay

In the first decades of the automobile industry, security was a child. In those days, Volvo built its reputation on selling vehicles safer, but created and gave away the safety device of the major car today: the belt of three points.

The modern safety belt was created by engineer Nils Bohlin Volvo (pictured) in 1959 [1]. At that time, seatbelts were simple two-point waist restrictions, and accidents often did more harm than good.

The design was first launched in the Nordic market in 1959 in the Volvo Amazon and Volvo PV544, pictured above. It made its way to the US in 1963.

It was a revolutionary invention and that probably could have scored Volvo a fortune in patents alone.

However, Volvo did not – they gave away the patent because they decided it was too important to keep to themselves. It was decided that the invention was so significant, that had more value as a tool-free life saving something to benefit.

So if you ever had his life saved by a safety belt of three points (or seat belt after the 1960s), it has Bohlin to thank for that, and perhaps also to put human Volvo lives ahead of corporate profits.

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