Invention Geek – Seat Belt Invention?

Question from Jen M.:

Who invented the seat belt?
Jen M..

Hi Jen,

In the last 100 years, many people have contributed to the evolution of the seat belt. The first safety-belt was patented by Edward J. Claghorn. On February 10, 1885, he was granted US Patent #312,085 for a Safety-Belt.

This invention relates to belts designed to be applied to the person and provided with hooks and other attachments for securing the person to a fixed object – from US Patent #312,085

The first seat belt seen is use was in 1913. Adolphe Pegoud used the seatbelt in an aircraft so he could fly upside-down.


The modern seat belt, US Patent 3,043,625 issued July 10, 1962.

Edward J. Hock developed the seat belt first used by the Ford Motor Company in 1950. While he was a flight instructor, Hock fashioned the belt out of parachute material. For his efforts, the US Navy gave Hock $20.50, a letter, and a newspaper article. He did not receiving any other money for his invention.

In 1951, Roger Griswold and Hugh De Haven applied for a patent for Combination Shoulder And Lap Safety Belts. They were granted US Patent #2,710,649 on June 14, 1955. Their belt was a three-point belt with a buckle in the middle. The belt covered the shoulders and lap spreading the impact from a collision. De Haven also invented the inertia reel which tightened the seat belt if there was a fast movement such as in a crash.

Today’s seatbelt is based on the invention of Nils Bohlin, a Swedish inventor working for Volvo His three-point seat belt was first seen as the standard on all Volvo’s manufactured in 1959. Bolhin received US Patent 3,043,625 for a Safety Belt on July 10, 1962.

The design for the seatbelt was made available to all other car manufactures and Bohlin promoted seat-belt wearing and laws around the world. Bohlin was recognized by the Automotive Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his invention which has been estimated to save 100,000 people from injuries each year in the US alone.

– TG

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