August 23, 1904 Harry D. Weed of Canastota, New York, was issued U.S. Patent Number 768,495 for his “Grip-Tread for Pneumatic Tires,” an innovation designed to help make driving safer in inclement winter weather or similarly adverse muddy road conditions. According to one of his great-grandsons, Weed came up with the idea for creating tire chains... Continue Reading →

Photo courtesy of the Automotive Hall of Fame. December 13, 1999 Allen K. Breed, engineer, and automotive safety pioneer died in Orlando, Florida, at the age of 72. Breed, who was born in Chicago in 1927, graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering. In 1961, he started the Breed Corporation to... Continue Reading →

October 23, 1964 A 45-year-old Illinois engineer named Sidney Allen Heenan applied for a U.S. patent for a durable road safety device that remains in extensive use nationwide to further reduce motor vehicle accidents. The device, as outlined in his patent application, was a raised pavement reflector marker. These markers were designed for placement on... Continue Reading →

July 6, 1881 In central Iowa, a potentially horrific passenger train wreck was averted thanks to a heroic teenage girl. The girl was 17-year-old Katherine Carroll “Kate” Shelley, who lived in that region of the Hawkeye State with her family. Kate had been born in Ireland, and she and her family immigrated to the United... Continue Reading →

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