It’s no surprise that early automobiles lacked comfort and convenience. Nowadays, our cars have so many features that are easy to take for granted. How did we get to this point? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the evolution and transformation of automotive comfort over the years.
The early 1900s
The earliest automobiles were open-air vehicles. This made driving extremely uncomfortable, unless you happened to have perfect weather. Everything changed in 1910, when Cadillac developed the first closed body car. At this point, manufacturers started focusing on interior comfort. They began looking for ways to make the driving experience as enjoyable as possible. The 1910s saw several innovations that improved the driving experience. In 1912, Cadillac released the Model Thirty, which featured an electronic self-starter, lighting, and ignition. In 1914, power door locks were introduced on Scripps-Booth vehicles. 1929 saw the first car heater, on the Ford Model A. These developments all paved the way for future improvements in automotive comfort.
Starting in the late 1920s, automakers began installing radios in their vehicles. By the 1930s, push button AM radios were standard. The first AM/FM car radios appeared in the 1950s. The first 8-track player came in the 1966 Ford Mustang. These were eventually replaced by cassette players, which had improved quality. The first in-car CD players came about in the 1980s, and remained popular throughout the ‘90s and 2000s. These days, we have the luxury of compact digital storage media. Early car drivers never dreamed of listening to music the way we can today.
Evolution of Climate control
Controlling the interior temperature of cars is one of the most significant comfort innovations. In 1940, Packard Motor Car Company developed power windows and in-car air conditioners. Both features gave people more control over their car’s climate. In the 1960s, Cadillac took this a step further by developing the first automatic climate control system. This allowed drivers to set a preferred temperature with the click of a button. Over time, automakers refined this system through various models. In 1980, Cadillac introduced the first fully electronic, automatic climate control system. This is the basis for what we still use today.
The first car to introduce heated seats was the 1966 Cadillac DeVille. These days, many cars offer a heated steering wheel and even heated paneling. There have been other seat comfort improvements besides heating. The first ventilated seats came in the Saab 9-5 in 1998, offering a cooling sensation. Massaging seats are a popular luxury feature, thanks to their introduction by Mercedes in the 2000s.
Modern technology and human machine interfaces
These days, smart interfaces can integrate personal devices. Human machine interface (HMI) technology offers convenience and luxury with the following features:
- Interior temperature and seat comfort
- Touch interfaces
- Wireless communication
- Internet and cloud connectivity
- Advanced lighting and sound systems
In many ways, HMI technology makes your car into an extension to your home or office, providing comfort and convenience with the tap of a screen.
Evolution of automotive comfort has come a long way from the open-air vehicles of the early 1900s. Take a look around your car and appreciate what you have. Do you have questions about your car’s interior features? Our experienced technicians at Blaine Auto Care & Transmission have answers. Give us a call today at (763) 755-7255, or schedule your appointment online.