NCPA July 10, 2024

On this day in 1962, the United States Patent Office issued Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin a patent for his three-point safety belt “for use in vehicles, especially road vehicles.” Volvo says that seatbelts had been used in various forms (across the lap, for example) since the mid-19th century, but Bohlin—a Swedish engineer—perfected it in 1959. The three-point safety belt was standard in all Volvos before too long, but the company didn’t stop there. Rather than retaining exclusivity or charging significant license fees to their competitors, a Forbes item notes that Volvo “gifted their designs to competitors, to encourage mass adoption and to save lives.”