Quick, when were heated seats invented? If you have that feature in your car, can you imagine living without it? Bonus Q: Are heated seats in the depths of winter cold about as good as sex?
Credit writer Louise Penny for that quip. After a coming to them late, I finally finished reading (in order) all of Penny’s Inspector Gamache mysteries. The Canadian journalist-turned-best-selling-author says natural seasons are practically characters in most of her novels, usually set in the fictional village of Three Pines, somewhere south of Montréal.
Early in book nine (How the Light Gets In) a character muses that heated seats in Quebec winters are about as satisfying as sex. (Or something like that. I’m a library devotee and the actual book is not currently within my reach.) You can read an excerpt here. And if a series of nine strikes you as daunting, don’t worry. They work as stand-alones too.
Penny’s not talking nonsense. When we moved to Ontario we shipped our own cars here from Hawaii. Need I say that neither one had heated seats? And that was that. Suck it up, buttercup. But a few years ago my spouse bought a newer used car which did have heated seats.
What a revelation! Call me a convert – as in “Let’s take your car!” On a long, cold ski one of us will encourage the other by mentioning that heated seats await!
So when was that wonder of engineering invented? Well, internet lore is full of various repetitions of this assertion:
Heated seats were invented by Robert Ballard. He came up with them in 1951 with a patent issued in 1955. Ballard worked for General Motors when he invented the concept.
According to the well-intentioned but not always 100% right Wikipedia, the first heated seats for regular consumers were offered by Cadillac in 1965 (for the 1966 model year).
Saab is proud enough of adding heated seats in 1972 to have a page all about that, including a video showing the heat signature of the seat. (Which wouldn’t play for me, but you may have better luck.)
Do readers know more about the history behind developing and marketing heated seats?
If you have heated seats, how important are they to you?
Those without heated seats can do as I do – dress for polar regions when getting into the icy cold car.