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Bumper (car)

The meaning of «bumper (car)»

A bumper is a structure attached to or integrated with the front and rear ends of a motor vehicle, to absorb impact in a minor collision, ideally minimizing repair costs.[1] Stiff metal bumpers appeared on automobiles as early as 1904 that had a mainly ornamental function.[2] Numerous developments, improvements in materials and technologies, as well as greater focus on functionality for protecting vehicle components and improving safety have changed bumpers over the years. Bumpers ideally minimize height mismatches between vehicles and protect pedestrians from injury. Regulatory measures have been enacted to reduce vehicle repair costs and, more recently, impact on pedestrians.

Bumpers were at first just rigid metal bars.[3] George Albert Lyon invented the earliest car bumper. The first bumper appeared on a vehicle in 1897, and it was installed by Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriksgesellschaft, a Czech carmaker. The construction of these bumpers was not reliable as they featured only a cosmetic function. Early car owners had the front spring hanger bolt replaced with ones long enough to be able to attach a metal bar.[2] G.D. Fisher patented a bumper bracket to simplify the attachment of the accessory.[2] The first bumper designed to absorb impacts appeared in 1901. It was made of rubber and Frederick Simms gained patent for this invention in 1905.[4]

Bumpers were added by automakers in the mid-1910s, but consisted of a strip of steel across the front and back.[5] Often treated as an optional accessory, bumpers became more and more common in the 1920s as automobile designers made them more complex and substantial.[5] Over the next decades, chrome-plated bumpers became heavy, elaborative, and increasingly decorative until the late 1950s when US automakers began establishing new bumper trends and brand-specific designs.[5] The 1960s saw the use of lighter chrome-plated blade-like bumpers with a painted metal valance filling the space below it.[5] Multi-piece construction became the norm as automakers incorporated grilles, lighting, and even rear exhaust into the bumpers.

On the 1968 Pontiac GTO, General Motors incorporated an "Endura" body-colored plastic front bumper designed to absorb low-speed impact without permanent deformation. It was featured in a TV advertisement with John DeLorean hitting the bumper with a sledgehammer and no damage resulted.[6] Similar elastomeric bumpers were available on the front and rear of the 1970-71 Plymouth Barracuda.[7] In 1971, Renault introduced a plastic bumper (sheet moulding compound) on the Renault 5.[8]

Current design practice is for the bumper structure on modern automobiles to consist of a plastic cover over a reinforcement bar made of steel, aluminum, fiberglass composite, or plastic.[9] Bumpers of most modern automobiles have been made of a combination of polycarbonate (PC) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) called PC/ABS.[citation needed]

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