How the safety belt became a safety standard.
The story of the SpanSet company.

Fifty years ago the world was very different, cars had no seat belts. But the hour had come for a small Swedish ribbon weaving company.

Today it is hard to imagine that a few decades ago, most cars were shipped without seat belts. In other respects too, little attention was paid to accident prevention at that time, and so many collisions from which today one would emerge unscathed, had fatal consequences.

In order to counter this, the Swedish car company Volvo approached the ribbon weaving companies AB Textilkonst and Klippan at the end of the 1950s, with instructions to develop a safety belt for its vehicles.

Volvo was already building very sturdy cars that withstood the harsh Swedish winters and other tests, but it wanted to continue to improve the safety of the occupants.

Together with Volvo engineers, Klippan developed the fi rst car safety belt in the world, made of high-strength fabric ribbon. It was installed in models Amazon and 544 for the 1st time in 1959 and caused a lot of astonishment in the public, but also ensured an enduring image of Swedish inventions as both pioneering and durable.

How We Replaced Ropes and Chains

The car safety belt was a great success, and soon other manufacturers had also installed it. Thanks to the great demand, Erik Ehnimb, co-owner of Klippan, was able to found the SpanSet company in Malmö in 1966.

The ribbons produced by SpanSet were quickly and enthusiastically employed in many other areas, where up to that point chains and wire ropes had been used, as in the case of the transport of paper. The customers appreciated the enormous load-bearing capacity of the new lashing and lifting belts.

In 1967, Mr. Ehnimb founded SpanSet AG in Hombrechtikon in the Zurich highlands and additional companies in Germany, Italy, France and England. Later, companies in Asia, America and Australia were added, thus forming a global distribution network.
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