After Hours

Rail, auto, and aviation innovations at The Henry Ford history museum

Tech of the past: Cornell-Liberty Safety Car

Interesting statistic: By 1950, nearly 35,000 people died in auto accidents per year; therefore, many groups, especially insurance companies, were interested in building safer cars. Concept vehicles, such as this 1957 Cornell-Liberty Safety Car (Cornell University and Liberty Mutual Insurance), contained many ideas to improve the safety of the driver and passengers, especially small children. For example, in this car the driver sits in the center and, instead of a steering wheel, has a set of handlebars similar to a bicycle but with a padded center. As a matter of fact, nearly the entire cabin of this car is padded. Also, the smaller, rear-facing seat behind the driver is designed for small children. Finally, the large, unbroken, wrap-around windshield reduced blindspots.

Photo by Wally Bahny for TechRepublic

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