All in all, 1959 was an important year. It saw Fidel Castro come to power, the loss of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper on the “Day that Music Died,” and the ‘inch’ being adjusted by 2 millionths of an inch, bringing it equal to 25.4 millimetres.
Yet it was not only a notable year for music lovers and measurement enthusiasts. It was the year Nils Bohlin, while working at Volvo, received his first patent (number 3,043,625) for the invention of the 3-point seat-belt.
Bohlin went to the US to promote the product. At the time, he noted, pilots were willing to put just about anything on to stay safe, but drivers bulked at anything uncomfortable even for a short while. Volvo marketed the product during a profound time of change. Most car manufacturers, claiming cost considerations, were opposed to include seatbelts and safety innovations.