Development and Evolution of Bumper(1)

June 20,2022

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The earliest bumper was invented by Frederick Simms in 1901. For a period of time after that, bumper, which is common in modern cars, failed to be widely popularized. The reason may be that there were too few cars at that time, so the possibility of collision was not high. Traffic accidents are rare, so people at that time naturally did not have much awareness of protecting cars and people. Another reason is similar to that of the original tricycle. At that time, the cars were too slow. It was a "performance car" to run at 20 or 30 kilometers per hour. Installing a bumper not only failed to cushion, but also added a "touch and drop" consumable.




At the beginning, the bumpers used in cars were all simple and crude. They were either a horizontal iron sheet or an "iron fence". There were also some vehicles that took formalism as muck and directly took an I-beam to realize the function of bumpers.


However, the pursuit of beauty is fully reflected in all parts of the car, and the bumper is no exception. Although it was quite practical at that time to hang two iron bars at the front and rear of the car, it was obviously too straight. Therefore, in the 1950s, Americans who were either coquettish or dead figured out collision cones to "complicate" bumpers or directly replace them.


However, the design intention of the anti-collision cone is somewhat puzzling. Putting two buckteeth in the front of the car can not improve the practicality of the bumper. It is easier to be convincing to say that its significance is to match the trend of body modeling in that era.


It is probably a special mark of a specific era. In the 1950s, American cars had "bullet" or "rocket" shaped design elements all over the body. At that time, there were not so many annoying safety laws and regulations. It was the professional ethics of an automobile designer to be unrestrained. The anti-collision cone itself is also very suitable for such topics.

Perhaps the practice of putting bullets in the front of the car was too irascible. In addition, for the sake of collision safety, the collision cone gradually evolved into a collision block. Later, with the gradual attention paid to pedestrian protection and the change of people's aesthetics, the buffer design prominent in the car body gradually disappeared.


In the 1970s and 1980s, thanks to the progress of materials, hard plastic bumpers began to replace the glittering iron products in the past on a large scale. Although the plastic bumper looks like a cock wire, which is far less flashy than the iron bar, its soft texture and relatively fragile nature can significantly reduce the injury to pedestrians during collision. And because the plasticity of plastic is much better than that of metal, it is easier to use it to make bumpers to achieve the design of reinvention.


The emergence of plastic bar is a turning point in the history of bumper development. After that, the safety development of bumper itself and even automobile panel has entered a new stage.


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