Telescoping Steering Wheel - Been there, did that.

I was pretty impressed that this farmer type of guy invented himself a telescoping steering wheel, as shown in this 1956 issue of Popular Mechanics. A quick glance at a probably-more-or-less-accurate Wikipedia page showed that Ford had this exact feature on Thunderbirds since the previous year, Ah well. Mister Greenjeans here still built himself one, so he still gets some credit, just not for getting there first.

Turns out his name isn't Greenjeans. It's Jarsley Dvorak, which is way more interesting! "Jarsley"? Wow!

I'm no auto-collisionist, but I'm not convinced that having the passenger   hit the steering wheel ten inches and thirty milliseconds later is a life-saver, but it couldn't hurt. The real face-saver would come in later years with airbag technology. Way back in '56, they hadn't even begun designing steering wheels to be easy on the skull in the event of a "whoopsie", so having the thing slide down a little ways was probably some help.

Pity that steering wheels can either be padded or look really cool. There were some really nice steering wheels back in the days before people knew you could hurt yourself by having one lodged in your sinuses. Old Jarsley was in on the ground floor of that concept. The top picture shows us how the conventional steering column fits nicely inside the head and chest. This is good, because three-point seat belts with a shoulder restraint weren't really available in the U.S. until 1968. As usual, the Europeans were a little ahead of us on that. Jarsley does look a little Swedish, doesn't he?


unamericanaaroma.com said...

Wow. I can't remember the last time I laughed out loud so hard at someone's writing. So witty. Hilarious. "Jarsley? Wow!" Oh my God too bad I'm done having kids because having a Jarsley would have been a really "swell" addition to the family. Keep this blog going because it's awesomely funny.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Thanks for reading, Un! Welcome to the blorg. Please comment early and often, just like we vote here in Chicago.


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