10 YEARS AGO — 2001
Finally, seat belts for school buses: School buses are now safer, thanks to seats from IMMI, Westfield, Ind. IMMI Safeguard seats have lap and shoulder belts with adjusters that let it fit students of all ages. The belts meet the current standard of compartmentalization created in 1977 to protect kids in a frontal crash.

IMMI engineers checked the seats at the Center for Product Evaluation (Cape) in tests that included rollovers, crash barriers, sleds, rides, and for durability.

30 YEARS AGO — 1981
Home Appliances: Serving the fast-food generation: Efficiency, safety, and manufacturing economy have become watchwords of the appliance industry. Payoffs from materials and electronics are helping keep costs down, despite flat or declining sales. Range-top igniters, shown here, replace conventional pilot lights and reduce gas consumption by 30%, according to Eaton Corp. The company’s igniters have an operating life of over 1,000,000 sparks, and have demonstrated five to 10 times that under laboratory conditions. Most important to consumers is the elimination of leaking gas from blown-out pilots.

50 YEARS AGO — 1961
Measuring the impression made by Brinell or diamond pyramid hardness tests is made possible by the built-in microscope and projector in the Avery visual hardness tester from W & T Avery Ltd., Birmingham, England. The enlarged image of the impression, projected on a ground-glass screen, can be measured to 0.001 or 0.0002 mm. The machine can make 300 comparative tests an hour. It tests the hardest and softest materials, causes no serious surface disfigurement, and can measure impressions without removing the test specimen.

© 2011 Penton Media, Inc.