Published by guardian.co.uk
Photo: Girish Gupta
It took a few attempts to get the standard V-type three-point safety belt right. Former aircraft engineer Bohlin, who was used to working on catapult seats, was drafted in by Volvo to help out with its designs for a safety harness in cars.
Patented in 1958, the first seatbelt — as we know it — was fitted to some vehicles in Volvo's Nordic market. Within five years, front seats across the US and Europe carried the belts, and a further four years later passengers in the rear joined in.
In the promotional shot above, Bohlin demonstrates his belt while a passenger relaxes smoking a pipe in the rear. Clearly it was a few years before the dangers of smoking were emphasised.
In equally typical early sixties advertising, it seems nothing could be sold to the public without being demonstrated by a long-legged, mini-skirted blonde.