The Heads Of Volvo Refused To Accept Money For The Invention Of The Seatbelt
If you've ever gotten into a car accident and not had your body ripped in half just above the genitals, take a moment to thank Volvo.
Vovlo If your body was ripped in half ... sorry.
Cars used to be a luxury item that didn't go faster than a well-motivated horse, so a simple lap belt was sufficient to keep drivers safe in a bruising 10-mile-per-hour collision. But, as cars sped up, lap belts started contributing to injuries instead of preventing them. One of those who died was a relative of Volvo president Gunnar Engellau, who decided that was some bullshit.
In the late 1950s, he hired an engineer named Nils Bohlin to make cars safer -- not just their cars, but all cars. Recognizing the need for a device that absorbed force across both the chest and waist, Bohlin developed the three point seatbelt that's in essentially every modern vehicle more complex than a bumper car.
Vovlo "Up yours, motorcycles!"
Now, this put Engellau's company in a powerful position; they could have made rival car executives get on their knees and beg for the privilege to pay millions for access to this new technology, or they could have just refused to share the patent and instead run with a new marketing slogan like, "Volvo: The Only Car That Won't Splatter Your Brains Across The Goddamn Sidewalk."
Instead, Volvo allowed anyone to use their new patent for free because, while they wanted to make money, they drew the line at letting other human beings die just because they preferred to drive a rival automobile. And they weren't begrudgingly getting ahead of the government inevitably forcing them to share in the name of public interest -- the company sent Bohlin abroad to promote the use of his new belt.
Vovlo He was paid entirely in the panties that were thrown at him.