Friday, 8 July 2011

Irvin Seat Belts

A visit a few years back from a fellow Hillman Imp Club member had him comment on the fact that our own 1967 Singer Chamois has the now quite rare Irvin seat belts,news to me,they are the ones fitted with the car when it was given to us.(thanks Alistair)

Now a collectors item it seems,they were the best at the time they say and the fact that the parachute lable had a direct link with air planes seems to have something to do with it?

This is a slightly different design to the ones on our Singer,it has a central stainless steel insert that makes use of its tension on the belt as a friction provider.

Note,the buckles are SABS approoved,meaing they were either standard issue in South Africa and that those on our Singer Chamois were fitted here,not in Scotland where our car was made,as its an imported car.

The Irvin story,now I understand the importance of the name Irvin!


Irvin's History

Founder Leslie Leroy Irvin was an inventive man with great vision. He made aviation history as the first ever free-fall parachute jumper-with a parachute he invented and made himself in 1919. The first fall was from over 1500' over McCook Field in Ohio, USA. He used a 28' Flat Circular canopy in a 4Pin Container.

That single ambitious jump brought orders for more chutes, giving his aviation manufacturing company, Irvin Air Chute Company, its beginning. The Irvin parachute gained rapid acceptance, and by the early 1930's was in service with some 40 air forces around the world.

In 1922 Irvin started a club called the "Caterpillar Club". To become a member, your life must have been saved by a parachute (not a club many try to get into). He selected the name Caterpillar Club in homage to the silk threads that made the original parachutes and the fact that the caterpillar lets itself down to earth by a silken thread. "Life depends on a silken thread," is the club’s motto.

Irvin introduced his product into automotive applications in 1922 when he designed and built the first seat belt for famed auto racer Barney Oldfield. Diversification, along with company growth, has continued at a steady pace over the years. Business historians easily track the introduction of automotive products from Irvin as a close parallel to the growth and development of the automotive industry itself.

In 1989 Irvin Automotive Products, through acquisition, became a division of Takata Corporation, one of the world's leading automotive OEM suppliers of safety restraint systems. Established in 1933, Takata shares Irvin's long and successful history as an innovator within the automotive industry. While Takata's other North American divisions specialize in seat belt, electronics, and air bag technology, Irvin Automotive Products, Inc. focuses on soft trim components and assemblies for interior automotive applications. Today, Irvin is known for supplying a full line of high-quality interior trim products to OEMs worldwide. Irvin's products include seat covers, headrests, cargo shades, barrier nets, armrests, and sun visors.

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