Check out these electric mirror price images:
memories of the Sixties!
Image by brizzle born and bred
It seems strange to think that when I was born in 1949 that hardly anyone had a television set, let alone a car !
The differences in technology, living standards and how we live, have changed drastically.
The changes to politics both geographically and ‘ideology’ wise have brought about new peace but new conflicts as well.
What I have found out lately is how much childhood and coming to maturity affects the rest of your life and shapes you for future years.
Music was also a huge part of the 1960s. While Liverpool had the Beatles, the London sound was a mix of bands who went on to worldwide success, including The Who, The Kinks, The Small Faces and The Rolling Stones. Their music was the mainstay of pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline and Radio Swinging England. Creative types of all kinds gravitated to the capital, from artists and writers to magazine publishers, photographers, advertisers, film-makers and product designers.
The last time we had 0% inflation in Britain was 1960.
The 1960’s had a serious undertone. It was great whilst it lasted, but because of the rush to change thing’s too quickly, the 1970’s paid the price with great political unrest and financial disasters.
The differences between working in the 1960’s and today are quite striking, especially for younger people and a fine example of this was my first ever full-time job when I was 15 in 1964.
They were days where you worked where you wanted to work, jobs were plentiful, my first wage packet was £6, government figures show that the average weekly wage is £16.
The trend of ‘only buy something when you’ve got the cash’ seemed to disappear and more and more Retailers, Car Sales Companies etc., were providing more ways to buy items before you’d paid for them – the credit trend had begun.
There’s a saying that "if you remember the 60s, you weren’t there"
For many of you the 60s was about rock ‘n roll and sexual liberation, while for others the hardship of the 50s lingered long and prevented them from enjoying the nation’s rebirth.
Below is a selection of observations about life in the 1960s.
I remember bread, milk, eggs and cheese, etc. all being delivered to your house, enjoying life without internet access and cell phone technology. Being amazed at seeing an E-Type Jaguar on the roads in Bristol. TV was black-and-white in those days and had only recently switched to 625 lines. I still remember the huge ‘X’ and ‘H’ shaped aerials used by the original 425 line system, all the TVs and radios using valves of course.
Boys still wore short trousers at primary school, and graduated to long trousers at 11 when you went to secondary school.
The country turned from the black and white austerity of the 40s and 50s into a Technicolor, psychedelic Garden of Eden. Harold Wilson, the new prime minister, hailed the dawn of the classless society. And among white Britons there were fears Britain was under siege from Commonwealth immigrants, a feeling stirred up by Tory outsider Enoch Powell in his famous "rivers of blood" speech in 1968.
Not since before the Romans invaded had long-haired people wandered around in public wearing so little. And not since the early Christians had love been so earnestly declared the answer to almost everything.
A heady optimism was shared by people who had never enjoyed this kind of cultural power before – the children of dockers and factory workers bringing a transfusion of energy that pale, old Britain badly needed.
Having to do your shopping by talking to people over the counter. Frozen milk which pushed the tops off the bottles. Being satisfied the Santa had actually come instead of how much he’d brought. Darned socks. Transistor radios. Being able to play in the street for the whole day hardly seeing a car. Bobbies on bikes. Having a Grandma that looked like a Grandma rather than a big sister. Rag rugs. Roller skates. Wearing clothes on the beach. Footballs with laces. Dad always wearing a jacket when he went out. Homemade go-carts. Prams with big wheels (pre go cart)
Free milk at school every morning in 1/3 pint bottles plus a waxy straw. Black-and-white TV, Watch with Mother, Sooty, The Buccaneers, William Tell, Ivanhoe. A feeling that something was not quite right, borne out by anti-Vietnam demos, industrial disputes, but all seemingly made bliss by the World Cup victory in ’66.
In those days there was still something to be proud about in being British. Our expectations were less so we were more content and it was before the advent of Human Rights activists and child psychologists so people grew up with some self discipline and were more content. We did not have to feel guilty every time we got in the car, switched on the light or had a gin & tonic or pint of beer. The only downside was that women had less freedom and married women, particularly mothers, were still expected to stay at home.
Getting a transistor radio and listening to Radio Luxemburg, under the bed clothes. Trying to get in to Top of the Pops when it was taped in an old church in Manchester. The Mersey Sound. Denim skirts and striped sailor tops. The death of Skiffle groups and the rise of electric guitars. Woolworth stores, mod & rockers, Vespa & Lambretta scooters, British built motorcycles and cars, pounds, shillings and pence, Ben Sherman and Brutus shirts, mandatory red socks, ankle high Levi ‘Sta-Prest’ trousers.
London in 1967 and looking to find somewhere to live. Most adverts for letting advertising in newsagent windows stated ‘No Irish, no blacks need apply’. I was very lucky finding a very good English family to let rent one of their rooms. My age was 20 years and it was the first time I was away from home.
It was a time when elderly people were respected, where teaching had some integrity and teachers were well thought of, where there was one gun related murder a year and the culprit duly hanged. We spent our money on rebuilding the families that had been displaced by the war. Our main concern was to get a job, learn new skills build a better future. A time when we were able to enjoy the freedom earned by the efforts of our fathers.
Possibly the most important thing that happened in my life was taking the 11+ test. Amongst my community, and especially my friends, it was considered very ‘elitist’ to go to Grammar school, and there was scorn and derision hurled at anyone who passed the test and went there.
The slum clearance and the lovely, cosy coal fires and kind, patient teachers. New built council houses, which had, joy of joys, a BATHROOM and hot water; in a previous house the loo was down the street and one had to take toilet paper along on a visit, or use the old newspaper strung on a nail. Until 1969, a bath for me was either a tin bath in front of the fire or, for a treat, a real bath with hot water which cost 6d at the public swimming baths. Even in the new house there was only a coal fire for heating, so on cold mornings frost was scraped from the inside of the bedroom window, and one dressed in front of the open gas oven, turned on full for warmth.
You could leave your doors unlocked and all that happened was that next door would put your milk in the pantry if you were out and the weather was hot. No thieving. No trouble just community spirit. It wasn’t called that in those days just neighbourliness
Closeted in the home or watched over by ‘helicopter’ parents, children lack much of the freedom they had only 50 years ago.
British children’s play has been transformed in the last 100 years. Up to the 1960s there were few children who didn’t spend much of their free time outdoors, playing in the fields, parks, streets, back alleys, old bombsites and local beauty spots.
This play was unsupervised by mum or dad and children were free to go on adventures far from home. Sadly this world of independent child’s play has today largely vanished. One of the important reasons for this decline is the inexorable rise of stranger danger and child abduction in modern Britain.
The 1960s decade refers to the years from the beginning of 1960 to the end of 1969. It is known as the Swinging Sixties and is associated with the birth of British pop music and fashion.
1961 – First man in space
1966 – England won the football World cup
1969 – First humans to walk on the Moon
1960 Population of Britain was about 53 million
1960 World’s population was just over 3 billion.
Cost of Living
The average house price was £2,530
Loaf of bread 5p
A season ticket to see Manchester United cost £8.50.
Homes and households
Most houses now had a refrigerator and a cooker.
People could buy sliced bread.
Plastic buckets could now be bought.
CoCo Pops were launched in 1961.
Ice lollies and choc ices on sticks became very popular during the 1960s
For the first time, virtually all houses had electricity.
1969 The Anglo-French airliner Concorde makes its first supersonic test flight.
1961 – First man in space. First human space flight to orbit the Earth: Yuri Gagarin, Vostok 1.
1966 – The Soviet Union launches Luna 10, which later becomes the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon.
1968 – First humans to leave Earth’s gravity influence and orbit another world: Apollo 8.
1969 – First humans to walk on the Moon: Apollo 11.
1962 – The audio cassette invented.
1963 – The first geosynchronous communications satellite, Syncom 2 is launched.
1963 – Touch-Tone telephones introduced.
1965 – Sony markets the CV-2000, the first home video tape recorder.
Most homes had televisions by the end of the decade.
Coronation Street first aired in 1960.
Live trans-Atlantic satellite television via the Telstar satellite was made possible in 1962.
BBC 2 went on air in 1964 and was the first channel to have colour in 1967.
Dr Who first appeared on television during the 60s.
Juke Box Jury www.flickr.com/photos/20654194@N07/4933754453
1964 The first "Top of the Pops" on the BBC
Presenters: Jimmy Savile and Alan Freeman.
Playlist: • Rolling Stones – I Wanna Be Your Man (Promo Video) • The Hollies – Stay (Performance) • Dusty Springfield – I Only Want To Be With You (Performance) • Swinging Blue Jeans – Hippy Hippy Shake (Performance) • Dave Clark 5 – Glad All Over (Performance) • Gene Pitney – 24 Hours From Tulsa (Audience Dancing) • Freddie & The Dreamers – You Were Made For Me (Film Sequence) • The Beatles – I Want To Hold Your Hand (News Footage)
The first supermarkets opened – mainly in town centres. Now you could buy all your food in one shop.
In the 1960s, tower blocks were considered a solution to the housing shortage caused by second world war damage and increased population.
1962 – The first computer video game, Spacewar, is invented.
1964 – The first successful Minicomputer, Digital Equipment Corporation’s 12-bit PDP-8, is marketed.
1968 – The first public demonstration of the computer mouse, video conferencing, teleconferencing, email, and hypertext.
1969 – Arpanet, the research-oriented prototype of the Internet, was introduced.
BASIC (an early computer language) is invented by John George Kemeny and Tom Kurtz.
The computer mouse invented by Douglas Engelbart.
The first computer with integrated circuits made.
Robert Dennard invented RAM (random access memory).
1960 – The halogen lamp invented.
1961 – Valium invented. The nondairy creamer invented.
1962 – The audio cassette invented.
The fiber-tip pen invented by Yukio Horie.
Spacewar, the first computer video game invented.
1963 – The video disk invented.
1964 – Acrylic paint invented.
Permanent-press fabric invented.
1965 – Astroturf invented.
Soft contact lenses invented.
The compact disk invented by James Russell.
Kevlar invented by Stephanie Louise Kwolek.
1966 – Electronic Fuel injection for cars invented.
1967 – The first handheld calculator invented.
1969 – The artificial heart invented.
The ATM invented.
The bar-code scanner is invented.
Dow Corp invents silicone breast implants.
1967 – First heart transplantation operation.
The Beatles began their career. They leapt to fame in 1963 with ‘Please, Please Me’.
The Beatles moved through the late 1960s as favourites of the ‘flower power’ generation – many young people enjoyed ‘hippie’ music. Other teenagers preferred the music of the ‘Mods’ – ska music and The Who.
1960 Elvis Presley
1961 Chubby Checker
1962 Cliff Richard
1963 The Beatles
1964 The Kinks
1965 The Rolling Stones
1966 Dusty Springfield
1967 The Monkeys
1968 Jimmy Hendrix
1969 Serge Gainsbourg
The 1960s featured a number of diverse trends. It was a decade that broke many fashion traditions, mirroring social movements during the time.In the middle of the decade, culottes, go-go boots, box-shaped PVC dresses and other PVC clothes were popular. The widely popular bikini came into fashion in 1963 after being featured in the musical Beach Party.
Mary Quant invented the mini-skirt, and Jackie Kennedy introduced the pillbox hat, both becoming extremely popular. False eyelashes were worn by women throughout the 1960s, and their hairstyles were a variety of lengths and styles. While focusing on colors and tones, accessories were less of an importance during the sixties.
People were dressing in psychedelic prints, highlighter colors, and mismatched patterns.
The hippie movement late in the decade also exerted a strong influence on ladies’ clothing styles, including bell-bottom jeans, tie-dye, and batik fabrics, as well as paisley prints.
In the early-to-mid-1960s, the London Modernists known as the Mods were shaping and defining popular fashion for young British men while the trends for both changed more frequently than ever before in the history of fashion and would continue to do so throughout the decade. Designers were producing clothing more suitable for young adults which lead to an increase in interests and sales.
1960 Doc Martens boots
1962 Teddy Boy suits
1963 Mop top hair
1965 The Twiggy look
1966 Mini skirts
1968 Body art
1969 Love beads
1964 Mr Potato Head
1966 Action Man
1968 Batman utility belt and the Spacehopper
New cars of the 60s included the Capri (1961), Consul Cortina ( 1963) and Ford Escort (1968), which replaced the Anglia.
In 1966, the first Intercity train was used, which could travel much quicker than old steam and diesel trains. Many trains now run using electricity, which is much quieter and cleaner.
People started to spend more money on holidays. Many people no longer wanted holidays in Britain. Package holidays became popular – people arranged holidays through a travel agent.
Tough Times Ahead
And the Sixties ended as they began, with protests. There were seven million working days lost to strikes in 1969. Even the Mini, held up as a triumph for British design, provided a dark warning about the future of British business and manufacturing because it was sold too cheaply.
The optimism of the Sixties was starting to evaporate and it was clear there were tough times ahead.
Oh the joys of the open road!
Image by brizzle born and bred
History of Motor Car / Automobile Inventions and Improvements
To us, these inventions and contributions are no longer important. We take many of them for granted.
In 1971, the Ford car company built an experimental airbag fleet. General Motors tested airbags on the 1973 model Chevrolet automobile that were only sold for government use. The 1973, Oldsmobile Toronado was the first car with a passenger air bag intended for sale to the public. General Motors later offered an option to the general public of driver side airbags in full-sized Oldsmobile’s and Buick’s in 1975 and 1976 respectively. Cadillacs were available with driver and passenger airbags options during those same years. Early airbags system had design issues resulting in fatalities caused solely by the airbags.
Airbags were offered once again as an option on the 1984 Ford Tempo automobile. By 1988, Chrysler became the first company to offer air bag restraint systems as standard equipment. In 1994, TRW began production of the first gas-inflated airbag. They are now mandatory in all cars since 1998.
The drum brake was invented in Germany by Wilhelm Maybach in 1901.
In 1902 Louis Renault (French) invented the version on which the modern drum brake is based.
Self adjusting drum brakes were invented in the 1950s.
Malcolm Loughead patented a hydraulic braking system in the USA which was first used on the 1920 Duesenberg car.
In 1949 Crosley Motors became the first American car manufacturer to fit disc brakes. In the same year Chrysler fitted a type of disc brake to their fourth generation Imperial models.
Disc brakes were developed by Dunlop in Great Britain in the early 1950s and fitted to a Jaguar C-Type racing car in 1953.
In 1954 an Austin Healey 100S became the first production car to be fitted with disc brakes on all four wheels.
Disc brakes started to replace drum brakes in the 1960s.
The first car radio was invented by Paul Gavin (American) in 1929.
The product was called “Motorola” (a moving radio).
The first cruise controls fitted to cars were based on the centrifugal governor, a technique invented in 1788 by James Watt and Matthew Boulton (British) for use on locomotives.
They were first fitted to cars sometime between 1900 and 1910.
In 1945 Ralph Teetor (American) invented the modern cruise control.
In 1958 a Chrysler Imperial became the first car to be fitted with his cruise control system.
Which car model had the first doors and an enclosed compartment and in what year? Was an enclosed compartment first fitted to protect only the passengers but not the driver? – info wanted.
In 1955 a mechanical fuel injection system was developed by Bosch in Germany. Two years later, in 1957, General Motors in the United States produced a mechanical fuel injection system.
The “Electrojector” developed by Bendix in the United States during the mid 1950s was one of the first electronic fuel injection systems. From 1957 it was offered as an option by Pontiac, De Soto, Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth.
However, it was not reliable and was only fitted to about 35 cars.
Note: The Bendix fuel injection system was originally used on aircraft during the Korean War (1950-53).
Bosch later obtained patent rights to Bendix’s Electrojector system and during the 1960s Bosch developed their own “D-Jetronic” electronic fuel injection system.
This was first fitted to the VW Type lll in 1968. Between 1970 and 1973 the system was also used by Volvo, Saab, Renault, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz.
The D-Jetronic version was last used in 1976. Bosch introduced improved versions, including the L and K-Jetronic systems.
By 1922 most cars were fitted with petrol gauges.
Speedometers became compulsory in the UK in 1937.
A speedometer is a device that measures the instantaneous speed of a land vehicle.
Now universally fitted to motor vehicles, they started to be available as options in the 1900s, and as standard equipment from about 1910 onwards.
Speedometers for other vehicles have specific names and use other means of sensing speed. For a boat, this is a pit log. For an aircraft, this is an airspeed indicator.
The speedometer was invented by the Croatian Josip Belušić in 1888, and was originally called a velocimeter.
Rev-Counter – The first mechanical tachometers were based on measuring the centrifugal force, similar to the operation of a centrifugal governor. The inventor is assumed to be the German engineer Dietrich Uhlhorn; he used it for measuring the speed of machines in 1817. Since 1840, it has been used to measure the speed of locomotives.
The disruptive discharge Tesla coil is an early predecessor of the "ignition coil" in the ignition system as was invented in 1891. Tesla also gained U.S. Patent 609,250, "Electrical Igniter for Gas Engines", on August 16, 1898. The principles of the modern ignition coil used today is based on this design. A. Atwater Kent, in 1921, patented the modern form of the ignition coil.
A distributor is a device in the ignition system of an internal combustion engine that routes high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plugs in the correct firing order. The first reliable battery operated ignition was developed by Dayton Engineering Laboratories Co. (Delco) and introduced in the 1910 Cadillac. This ignition was developed by Charles Kettering and was considered a wonder in its day.
Magneto ignition was introduced on the 1899 Daimler Phönix. This was followed by Benz, Mors, Turcat-Mery, and Nesseldorf, and soon was used on most cars up until about 1918 in both low voltage (voltage for secondary coils to fire the spark plugs) and high voltage magnetos (to fire the spark plug directly, similar to coil ignitions, introduced by Bosch in 1903)
Reversing lights were first installed in American cars in 1921.
In 1920 DuPont in the USA produced a thick pyroxylin lacquer that was quick drying, durable and could be coloured. It was originally called Viscolac®.
In cooperation with General Motors DuPont refined the product further and renamed it Duco.
Duco was first used by General Motors as a durable, quick-drying finish on its 1923 Oakland models.
It reduced paint finish time from two weeks to two days and soon became the standard finish on cars.
It remained in use until the late 1960s.
Sometime between 1920 and 1926 Francis Davis and George Jessup (Americans) invented a hydraulic power steering system.
In 1926 it was tested in a Pierce-Arrow vehicle.
The Chrysler Imperial became the first production vehicle to be fitted with a power steering system in 1951. The system was called “Hydraguide”.
The radiator was invented and patented by Karl Benz for use on his first horseless carriage in 1885. It overcame the problem of evaporation cooling, which was boiling away a gallon of water for every hour he operated his single cylinder engine.
The first honeycomb radiator was designed by Wilhelm Maybach and fitted to the 1901 Mercedes 35 hp model.
Anti freeze became available in the USA in 1905.
The Union Carbide & Carbon Corporation in the USA was the sole producer of ethylene glycol up to 1914. Initially it was used as an anti freeze.
The use of ethylene glycol as an engine coolant was first proposed in England in 1916.
A patent was granted in the USA in 1918 for the use of ethylene glycol to lower the freezing point of water in car cooling systems.
Volvo cars have long been marketed and stressed their historic reputation for solidity and reliability. Prior to strong government safety regulation Volvo had been in the forefront of safety engineering.
In 1944, laminated glass was introduced in the PV model. In 1958, Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin invented and patented the modern 3-Point Safety Belt, which became standard on all Volvo cars
in 1959. Volvo was the first company to produce cars with padded dashboards starting in late 1956 with their Amazon model. Additionally, Volvo developed the first rear-facing child seat in 1964 and introduced its own booster seat in 1978.
In 1986, Volvo introduced the first central high-mounted stoplight[ (a brake light not shared with the rear tail lights), which became federally mandated in the United States in the 1986 model year. Seat belt and child seat innovation continued as shown in the 1991 960.
The 960 introduced the first three-point seat belt for the middle of the rear seat and a child safety cushion integrated in the middle armrest. Also in 1991 came the introduction of the Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) on the 940/960 and 850 models, which channeled the force of a side impact away from the doors and into the safety cage.
To add to its SIPS, in 1995 Volvo was the first to introduce side airbags and installed them as standard equipment in all models in 1996. At the start of the 1995 model year, side impact protection airbags were standard on high trim-level Volvo 850s, and optional on other 850s. By the middle of the production year, they were standard on all 850s. In Model Year 1996, SIPS airbags became standard on all Volvo models.
In 1998 Volvo also developed and was the first to install a head-protecting airbag, which was made standard in all new models as well as some existing models. The head-protecting airbag was not available on the 1996 C70 due to the initial design deploying the airbag from the roof; the C70, being a convertible, could not accommodate such an airbag.
Later years of the C70 featured a head-protecting airbag deploying upwards from the door, negating the issue of roof position. It has been stated by many testing authorities that side head protecting curtain airbags can reduce risk of death in a side impact by up to 40% and brain injury by up to 55%, as well as protecting in a rollover situation.
In 1998, Volvo introduced its Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), a safety device to prevent injury of front seat users during collisions. In 2004, Volvo introduced the BLIS system, which detects vehicles entering the Volvo’s blind spot with a side view mirror mounted sensor and alerts the driver with a light.
That year also saw Volvos sold in all markets equipped with side-marker lights and daytime-running lights. Much of Volvo’s safety technology now also goes into other Ford vehicles. In 2005 Volvo presented the second generation of Volvo C70, it comes with extra stiff door-mounted inflatable side curtains (the first of its kind in a convertible).
In 2006 Volvo’s Personal Car Communicator (PCC) remote control has been launched as an optional feature with the all new Volvo S80. Before a driver gets to their car, they are able to review the security level and know whether they have set the alarm and if the car is locked.
Additionally, a heartbeat sensor warns if someone is hiding inside the car.
The all new Volvo S80 is also the first Volvo model to feature Adaptive cruise control (ACC) with Collision Warning and Brake Support (CWBS).
Since 2004 all Volvo models except for the C70 and C30 are available with an all-wheel drive system developed by Haldex Traction of Sweden.
Even though Volvo Car Corp is owned by the Ford Motor Company, the safety systems of Volvo are still made standard on all of their vehicles. Volvo has patented all of their safety innovations, including SIPS, WHIPS, ROPS, DSTC, IC, and body structures. Some of these systems have shown up in other Ford vehicles in related forms to that of Volvo systems only because Volvo has licenced the FOMOCO and other PAG members to utilize these features.
A 2005 FOLKSAM report puts the 740/940 (from 1982 on) in the 15% better than average category, the second from the top category. The Volvo 745 was also recalled due to that the front seatbelts mounts could break in a collision.
In 2005, when the American non-profit, non-governmental Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released its first annual Top Safety Picks vehicles list, none of Volvo’s offered vehicles in the U.S. were included on the list. According to Russ Rader, a spokesman for IIHS, Volvo was lagging behind its competitors. Dan Johnston, a Volvo spokesman, denied that the company’s vehicles are any less safe than the Institute’s top-rated vehicles, adding that
"It’s just a philosophy on safety that is different from building cars to pass these kinds of tests."
According to IIHS, Volvo’s S80 became one of 2009 Top Safety Picks Award winner, but Volvo’s S40 and S60 (both 2005–09 models with standard side airbags) failed to attain the highest rating in their side impact test. Volvo’s C30 is not tested by IIHS yet, but received 5 star safety in EuroNCAP.
However, according to the IIHS, in recent years Volvo Cars have still managed to maintain their high class safety ratings as seen in test results The Volvo XC90, S80 and C70 all score top scores in these rated crash tests.
In 2008 a French court found Volvo partially responsible for causing the death of two children and serious injuries of one in Wasselonne on June 17, 1999, when the brakes of a 1996 Volvo 850 failed. The court subjected Volvo to a 200,000 Euro fine.
The Amazon was noted for its safety features, with a padded dashboard, front and rear seat belts and a laminated windshield.
1944 Safety cage
1944 Laminated windscreen
1954 Defroster vents for windscreen
1956 Windscreen washers
1957 Anchor points for 2–point safety belts front
1958 Anchor points for 2–point safety belts rear
1959 3–point front safety belts standard
1960 Padded instrument panel
1964 First rearward–facing child safety seat prototype tested
1966 Crumple zones front and rear
1966 Safety door–locks
1967 Safety belt rear seats
1969 Inertia reel safety belts
1971 Reminder safety belt
1972 3–point safety belts – rear
1972 Rearward–facing child safety seat
1972 Childproof locks on rear doors
1974 Multistage impact absorbing steering column
1974 Bulb integrity sensor
1975 Braking system with stepped bore master cylinder
1978 Child safety booster cushion
1982 "Anti–submarining" protection
1986 Three–point safety belt centre rear seat
1990 Integrated child safety cushion in centre rear seat
1991 SIPS – Side Impact Protection System
1991 Automatic height adjusting safety belt
1992 Reinforced rear seats in estate models
1995 Integrated child safety cushion outer rear seats
1997 ROPS – Roll Over Protection System (C70)
1998 WHIPS – Whiplash Protection System
1998 IC – Inflatable Curtain
2001 SCC – Volvo Safety Concept Car
2002 RSC – Roll Stability Control
2003 New Front Structure called Volvo Intelligent Vehicle Architecture (VIVA, S40, V50)
2003 Rear seat belt reminders (in S40 and V50)
2003 IDIS – Intelligent Driver Information System (in S40 and V50)
2003 Inauguration of Volvo’s Traffic Accident Research Team in Bangkok
2004 BLIS – Blind Spot Information System (in S40 and V50)
2005 Introduction of DMIC (Door Mounted Inflatable Curtain, new Volvo C70)
2006 PCC – Personal Car Communicator (S80)
2006 CWBS – Collision Warning with Brake Support (S80)
2007 PPB – Power Park Brake (S80)
2007 DAC – Driver Alert Control (V70, XC70)
2009 City Safety – Automatically stop car at speeds below 19 mph (31 km/h) if obstruction is detected in front of car (XC60)
2010 Pedestrian Detection with auto brake (New S60)
The first cars were steered with a tiller.
The first car fitted with a steering wheel was a French Panhard & Levassor model in 1898.
The first American car to be fitted with a steering wheel was the second car built by Packard in 1899.
Left hand steering wheels were first fitted to American cars in about 1908.
Today, most factory sliding sunroof options feature a glass panel and are sometimes marketed as moonroofs, a term introduced in 1973 by John Atkinson, a marketing manager at Ford for the Lincoln Continental Mark IV. For the first year, Ford sent out its Mark IVs to American Sunroof Company for offline installation.
Independent front suspension was first fitted to a Lancia car in 1922.
In 1928 Cadillac/GM introduced a fully-synchronized manual transmission system called Syncro-Mesh.
In 1932 Cadillac/GM began working on a shiftless transmission system. By 1934 they had developed a step-ratio gearbox that would shift automatically under full torque.
By 1937 they had produced a semi-automatic transmission system called Automatic Safety Transmission (AST). It was fitted to Oldsmobile models from 1937 to 1939.
In 1939 GM introduced an automatic transmission system called Hydra-Matic Drive. It was first installed in a 1940 Oldsmobile model.
Some cars from the 1920s to 1950s used retractable semaphores called trafficators rather than flashing lights. They were commonly mounted high up behind the front doors and swung out horizontally. However, they were fragile and could be easily broken off and also had a tendency to stick in the closed position.
Florence Lawrence (Canadian) invented a turn indicator for cars in about 1914.
The device was called an “auto signalling arm” and it was attached to the car’s rear fender. When the driver pressed a button an electrically operated arm raised a sign to indicate the direction of the turn.
Florence Lawrence did not, however, correctly patent her invention.
In 1929 Oscar J. Simler (American) invented and patented a turn indicator.
In 1935 a company in the United States invented a flashing turn indicator.
A Buick was the first production car to be fitted with an electrical turn indicator in 1938.
Until the early 1960s, most front turn signals worldwide emitted white light and most rear turn signals emitted red. Amber front turn signals were voluntarily adopted by the auto industry in the USA for most vehicles beginning in the 1963 model year, though front turn signals were still permitted to emit white light until FMVSS 108 took effect for the 1968 model year, whereupon amber became the only permissible colour for front turn signals.
Presently, almost all countries outside North America require that all front, side and rear turn signals produce amber light. In North America the rear signals may be amber or red. International proponents of amber rear signals say they are more easily discernible as turn signals. U.S. studies in the early 1990s demonstrated improvements in the speed and accuracy of following drivers’ reaction to stop lamps when the turn signals were amber rather than red.
American regulators and other proponents of red rear turn signals have historically asserted there is no proven benefit to amber signals. However, a 2008 U.S. study by NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) suggests vehicles with amber rear signals rather than red ones are up to 28% less likely to be involved in certain kinds of collisions, and a 2009 NHTSA study determined there is a significant overall safety benefit to amber rather than red rear turn signals.
There is some evidence that turn signals with colourless clear lenses and amber bulbs may be less conspicuous in bright sunlight than those with amber lenses and colourless bulbs.
The first shatterproof safety glass was invented in France in 1909 by Triplex.
Window winders were introduced in about 1925.
Power operated car windows were fitted in the USA in 1946.
Gladstone Adams was granted a patient for windscreen wipers in Great Britain in 1911.
William Folberth was granted a patient in 1922 for the first automatic (vacuum powered) windshield wiper mechanism.
Electric windscreen wipers were introduced in 1922.
A Studebaker car was fitted with windscreen washers in 1937.
In 1940 Chrysler provided models with two-speed wipers.
Note: Headlight wipers were first introduced by Saab in 1970.
Car Accessories Timeline
The 1903 Tincher introduced the motoring public to air-boost (power) brakes. It was not an option either, but standard equipment. But then, the Tincher sold for 00 — about ten times the price of the average car of the day.
The first adjustable driver’s seat was offered in the 1914 Maxwell. The 1921 Hudson had sliding bench seats as standard equipment. Buick, in 1946, gave motorists the first optional 2-way power seat, and the 1953 Lincoln had the first optional 4-way power seat.
In 1921, an innovator by the name of Wills Sainte Claire mounted a bulb on the rear of his car and wired it to a switch on the car’s transmission, so it glowed when the car was shifted into reverse. Thus, the backup light was invented and sold as an accessory until federal law made it mandatory in the 1960s.
The 1923 Springfield sedan is credited with being the first car to offer a radio as an option. Radios did not become popular until the early ’30s, when they finally lost their reputation as a driver distraction.
The 1928 Studebaker gave us the first windshield defroster; the 1937 Studebaker, the windshield washer.
The 1939 Packard ushered in air conditioning.
The first car with an actual refrigeration system was the 1940 model year Packard.
Bendix Drive or Starter Drive
In 1910, Vincent Bendix patented the Bendix drive for electric starters, an improvement to the hand cranked starters of the time.
In 1901, British inventor Frederick William Lanchester patented disc brakes.
In 1929, American Paul Galvin, the head of Galvin Manufacturing Corporation, invented the first car radio. The first car radios were not available from carmakers. Consumers had to purchase the radios separately. Galvin coined the name "Motorola" for the company’s new products combining the idea of motion and radio.
The first crash test dummy was the Sierra Sam created in 1949.
Ralph Teetor, a prolific (and blind) inventor, invented cruise control.
In 1898, Louis Renault invented the first driveshaft.
Daimler introduced electric windows in cars in 1948.
In 1901, Frederick Simms invented the first car fender (Bumper). Similar to the railway engine buffers of the period.
The first electronic fuel injection system for cars was invented in 1966 in Britain.
The numerous processes and agents needed to improve the quality of gasoline (Petrol) making it a better commodity.
Canadian Thomas Ahearn invented the first electric car heater in 1890.
Charles Kettering was the inventor of the first electrical starter motor ignition system.
On April 25, 1901 the state of New York became the first state to require car license plates by law. The very first license plates were called number plates – first issued in 1893 in France by the police.
Oliver Lodge invented the electric spark ignition (the Lodge Igniter) for the internal combustion engine.
The first U.S. patent for automobile seat beats was issued to Edward J. Claghorn of New York, New York on February 10, 1885.
Ferdinand Porsche invented the first supercharged Mercedes-Benz SS & SSK sports cars in Stuttgart, Germany in 1923.
In 1974, psychologist John Voevodsky invented the third brake light, a brake light that is mounted in the base of rear windshields. When drivers press their brakes, a triangle of light will warn following drivers to slow down.
Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber in 1844 that was later used for the first tires
In 1832, W. H. James invented a rudimentary three-speed transmission. Panhard and Levassor are credited with the invention of the modern transmission – installed in their 1895 Panhard. On April 28, 1908, Leonard Dyer obtained one of the earliest patents for an automobile transmission.
Buick introduced the first electric turn signals in 1938.
Francis W. Davis invented power steering. In the 1920s, Davis was the chief engineer of the truck division of the Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company, and he saw first hand how hard it was to steer heavy vehicles. Davis quit his job and rented a small engineering shop in Waltham, MA. He developed a hydraulic power steering system that led to power steering. Power steering became commercially available by 1951.
Prior to the manufacture of Henry Ford’s Model A, Mary Anderson was granted her first patent for a window cleaning device in November of 1903.
Taj Mahal !!!
Image by Trains @Glance™ !!!
The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage"
Taj Mahal is regarded by many as the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles.
In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While the white domed marble mausoleum is the most familiar component of the Taj Mahal, it is actually an integrated complex of structures. The construction began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, employing thousands of artisans and craftsmen. The construction of the Taj Mahal was entrusted to a board of architects under imperial supervision, including Abd ul-Karim Ma’mur Khan, Makramat Khan, and Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. Lahauri is generally considered to be the principal designer.
Origin and inspiration
In 1631, Shah Jahan, emperor during the Mughal empire’s period of greatest prosperity, was grief-stricken when his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, a Persian princess, died during the birth of their 14th child, Gauhara Begum. Construction of the Taj Mahal began in 1632. The court chronicles of Shah Jahan’s grief illustrate the love story traditionally held as an inspiration for Taj Mahal. The principal mausoleum was completed in 1648 and the surrounding buildings and garden were finished five years later. Emperor Shah Jahan himself described the Taj in these words.
Should guilty seek asylum here,
Like one pardoned, he becomes free from sin.
Should a sinner make his way to this mansion,
All his past sins are to be washed away.
The sight of this mansion creates sorrowing sighs;
And the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes.
In this world this edifice has been made;
To display thereby the creator’s glory.
The Taj Mahal incorporates and expands on design traditions of Persian architecture and earlier Mughal architecture. Specific inspiration came from successful Timurid and Mughal buildings including; the Gur-e Amir (the tomb of Timur, progenitor of the Mughal dynasty, inSamarkand), Humayun’s Tomb, Itmad-Ud-Daulah’s Tomb (sometimes called the Baby Taj), and Shah Jahan’s own Jama Masjid inDelhi. While earlier Mughal buildings were primarily constructed of red sandstone, Shah Jahan promoted the use of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones, and buildings under his patronage reached new levels of refinement.
The tomb is the central focus of the entire complex of the Taj Mahal. This large, white marble structure stands on a square plinth and consists of a symmetrical building with an iwan (an arch-shaped doorway) topped by a large dome and finial. Like most Mughal tombs, the basic elements are Persian in origin.
The base structure is essentially a large, multi-chambered cube with chamfered corners, forming an unequal octagon that is approximately 55 metres (180 ft) on each of the four long sides. On each of these sides, a huge pishtaq, or vaulted archway, frames the iwan with two similarly shaped, arched balconies stacked on either side. This motif of stacked pishtaqs is replicated on the chamfered corner areas, making the design completely symmetrical on all sides of the building. Four minarets frame the tomb, one at each corner of the plinth facing the chamfered corners. The main chamber houses the false sarcophagi of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan; the actual graves are at a lower level.
The marble dome that surmounts the tomb is the most spectacular feature. Its height of around 35 metres (115 ft) is about the same as the length of the base, and is accentuated as it sits on a cylindrical "drum" which is roughly 7 metres (23 ft) high. Because of its shape, the dome is often called an onion dome or amrud (guava dome). The top is decorated with a lotusdesign, which also serves to accentuate its height. The shape of the dome is emphasised by four smaller domed chattris(kiosks) placed at its corners, which replicate the onion shape of the main dome. Their columned bases open through the roof of the tomb and provide light to the interior. Tall decorative spires (guldastas) extend from edges of base walls, and provide visual emphasis to the height of the dome. The lotus motif is repeated on both the chattris and guldastas. The dome and chattris are topped by a gilded finial, which mixes traditional Persian and Hindustani.
The main finial was originally made of gold but was replaced by a copy made of gilded bronze in the early 19th century. This feature provides a clear example of integration of traditional Persian and Hindu decorative elements. The finial is topped by a moon, a typical Islamic motif whose horns pointheavenward. Because of its placement on the main spire, the horns of the moon and the finial point combine to create a trident shape, reminiscent of traditional Hindu symbols of Shiva.
The minarets, which are each more than 40 metres (130 ft) tall, display the designer’s penchant for symmetry. They were designed as working minarets—a traditional element of mosques, used by the muezzin to call the Islamic faithful to prayer. Each minaret is effectively divided into three equal parts by two working balconies that ring the tower. At the top of the tower is a final balcony surmounted by a chattri that mirrors the design of those on the tomb. The chattris all share the same decorative elements of a lotus design topped by a gilded finial. The minarets were constructed slightly outside of the plinth so that, in the event of collapse, (a typical occurrence with many tall constructions of the period) the material from the towers would tend to fall away from the tomb.
The exterior decorations of the Taj Mahal are among the finest in Mughal architecture. As the surface area changes the decorations are refined proportionally. The decorative elements were created by applying paint, stucco, stone inlays, or carvings. In line with the Islamic prohibition against the use of anthropomorphic forms, the decorative elements can be grouped into either calligraphy, abstract forms or vegetative motifs.
Throughout the complex, passages from the Qur’an are used as decorative elements. Recent scholarship suggests that the passages were chosen by Amanat Khan.The texts refer to themes of judgment and include:
Surah 36 – Ya Sin
Surah 39 – Az-Zumar The Crowds
Surah 48 – Al-Fath Victory
Surah 67 – Al-Mulk Dominion
Surah 77 – Al-Mursalat Those Sent Forth
Surah 81 – At-Takwir The Folding Up
Surah 82 – Al-Infitar The Cleaving Asunder
Surah 84 – Al-Inshiqaq The Rending Asunder
Surah 89 – Al-Fajr Daybreak
Surah 91 – Ash-Shams The Sun
Surah 93 – Ad-Dhuha Morning Light
Surah 94 – Al-Inshirah The Solace
Surah 95 – At-Teen The Fig
Surah 98 – Al-Bayyinah The Evidence
Surah 112 – Al-Ikhlas The Purity of Faith
The calligraphy on the Great Gate reads "O Soul, thou art at rest. Return to the Lord at peace with Him, and He at peace with you.
The calligraphy was created by a calligrapher named Abd ul-Haq, in 1609. Shah Jahan conferred the title of "Amanat Khan" upon him as a reward for his "dazzling virtuosity" Near the lines from the Qur’an at the base of the interior dome is the inscription, "Written by the insignificant being, Amanat Khan Shirazi. Much of the calligraphy is composed of florid thuluth script, made of jasper or black marble inlaid in white marble panels. Higher panels are written in slightly larger script to reduce the skewing effect when viewed from below. The calligraphy found on the marble cenotaphs in the tomb is particularly detailed and delicate.
Abstract forms are used throughout, especially in the plinth, minarets, gateway, mosque, jawab and, to a lesser extent, on the surfaces of the tomb. The domes and vaults of the sandstone buildings are worked with tracery of incised painting to create elaborate geometric forms. Herringbone inlays define the space between many of the adjoining elements. White inlays are used in sandstone buildings, and dark or black inlays on the white marbles. Mortared areas of the marble buildings have been stained or painted in a contrasting colour, creating geometric patterns of considerable complexity. Floors and walkways use contrasting tiles or blocks in tessellation patterns.
On the lower walls of the tomb there are white marble dados that have been sculpted with realistic bas relief depictions of flowers and vines. The marble has been polished to emphasise the exquisite detailing of the carvings and the dado frames and archway spandrels have been decorated with pietra durainlays of highly stylised, almost geometric vines, flowers and fruits. The inlay stones are of yellow marble, jasper and jade, polished and levelled to the surface of the walls.
The interior chamber of the Taj Mahal steps far beyond traditional decorative elements. Here, the inlay work is not pietra dura, but a lapidary of precious and semiprecious gemstones. The inner chamber is an octagon with the design allowing for entry from each face, although only the door facing the garden to the south is used.
The interior walls are about 25 metres (82 ft) high and are topped by a "false" interior dome decorated with a sun motif. Eight pishtaq arches define the space at ground level and, as with the exterior, each lower pishtaq is crowned by a second pishtaq about midway up the wall. The four central upper arches form balconies or viewing areas, and each balcony’s exterior window has an intricate screen or jali cut from marble. In addition to the light from the balcony screens, light enters through roof openings covered by chattris at the corners. Each chamber wall has been highly decorated with dado bas-relief, intricate lapidary inlay and refined calligraphy panels, reflecting in miniature detail the design elements seen throughout the exterior of the complex.
The octagonal marble screen or jali which borders the cenotaphs is made from eight marble panels which have been carved through with intricate pierce work. The remaining surfaces have been inlaid in extremely delicate detail with semi-precious stones forming twining vines, fruits and flowers.
Muslim tradition forbids elaborate decoration of graves. Hence, the bodies of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan were put in a relatively plain crypt beneath the inner chamber with their faces turned right and towards Mecca. Mumtaz Mahal’s cenotaph is placed at the precise centre of the inner chamber on a rectangular marble base of 1.5 by 2.5 metres (4 ft 11 in by 8 ft 2 in).
Both the base and casket are elaborately inlaid with precious and semiprecious gems. Calligraphic inscriptions on the casket identify and praise Mumtaz. On the lid of the casket is a raised rectangular lozenge meant to suggest a writing tablet. Shah Jahan’s cenotaph is beside Mumtaz’s to the western side, and is the only visible asymmetric element in the entire complex. His cenotaph is bigger than his wife’s, but reflects the same elements: a larger casket on a slightly taller base, again decorated with astonishing precision with lapidary and calligraphy that identifies him. On the lid of this casket is a traditional sculpture of a small pen box.
The pen box and writing tablet were traditional Mughal funerary icons decorating the caskets of men and women respectively. The Ninety Nine Names of God are found as calligraphic inscriptions on the sides of the actual tomb of Mumtaz Mahal, in the crypt including "O Noble, O Magnificent, O Majestic, O Unique, O Eternal, O Glorious… ". The tomb of Shah Jahan bears a calligraphic inscription that reads; "He travelled from this world to the banquet-hall of Eternity on the night of the twenty-sixth of the month of Rajab, in the year 1076 Hijri."
The complex is set around a large 300-metre (980 ft) square charbagh or Mughal garden. The garden uses raised pathways that divide each of the four quarters of the garden into 16 sunken parterres or flowerbeds. A raised marble water tank at the center of the garden, halfway between the tomb and gateway with a reflecting pool on a north-south axis, reflects the image of the mausoleum. The raised marble water tank is called al Hawd al-Kawthar, in reference to the "Tank of Abundance" promised to Muhammad.
Elsewhere, the garden is laid out with avenues of trees and fountains. The charbagh garden, a design inspired by Persian gardens, was introduced to India by the first Mughal emperor, Babur. It symbolises the four flowing rivers of Jannah (Paradise) and reflects the Paradise garden derived from the Persian paridaeza, meaning ‘walled garden’. In mystic Islamic texts of Mughal period, Paradise is described as an ideal garden of abundance with four rivers flowing from a central spring or mountain, separating the garden into north, west, south and east.
Most Mughal charbaghs are rectangular with a tomb or pavilion in the center. The Taj Mahal garden is unusual in that the main element, the tomb, is located at the end of the garden. With the discovery of Mahtab Bagh or "Moonlight Garden" on the other side of the Yamuna, the interpretation of the Archaeological Survey of India is that the Yamuna river itself was incorporated into the garden’s design and was meant to be seen as one of the rivers of Paradise. The similarity in layout of the garden and its architectural features with the Shalimar Gardens suggest that they may have been designed by the same architect, Ali Mardan. Early accounts of the garden describe its profusion of vegetation, including abundant roses, daffodils, and fruit trees. As the Mughal Empire declined, the tending of the garden also declined, and when the British took over the management of Taj Mahal during the time of the British Empire, they changed the landscaping to resemble that of lawns of London.
The Taj Mahal complex is bounded on three sides by crenellated red sandstone walls, with the river-facing side left open. Outside the walls are several additional mausoleums, including those of Shah Jahan’s other wives, and a larger tomb for Mumtaz’s favourite servant. These structures, composed primarily of red sandstone, are typical of the smaller Mughal tombs of the era. The garden-facing inner sides of the wall are fronted by columnedarcades, a feature typical of Hindu temples which was later incorporated into Mughal mosques. The wall is interspersed with domed chattris, and small buildings that may have been viewing areas or watch towers like the Music House, which is now used as a museum. The main gateway (darwaza) is a monumental structure built primarily of marble which is reminiscent of Mughal architecture of earlier emperors. Its archways mirror the shape of tomb’s archways, and its pishtaq arches incorporate the calligraphy that decorates the tomb. It utilises bas-relief and pietra dura inlaid decorations with floral motifs. The vaulted ceilings and walls have elaborate geometric designs, like those found in the other sandstone buildings of the complex. At the far end of the complex, there are two grand red sandstone buildings that are open to the sides of the tomb. Their backs parallel the western and eastern walls, and the two buildings are precise mirror images of each other. The western building is a mosque and the other is the jawab (answer), whose primary purpose was architectural balance, although it may have been used as a guesthouse. The distinctions between these two buildings include the lack ofmihrab (a niche in a mosque’s wall facing Mecca) in the jawab and that the floors of jawab have a geometric design, while the mosque floor was laid with outlines of 569 prayer rugs in black marble. The mosque’s basic design of a long hall surmounted by three domes is similar to others built by Shah Jahan, particularly to his Masjid-Jahan Numa, or Jama Masjid, Delhi. The Mughal mosques of this period divide thesanctuary hall into three areas, with a main sanctuary and slightly smaller sanctuaries on either side. At the Taj Mahal, each sanctuary opens onto an enormous vaulting dome. These outlying buildings were completed in 1643.
The Taj Mahal was built on a parcel of land to the south of the walled city of Agra. Shah Jahan presented Maharajah Jai Singh with a large palace in the center of Agra in exchange for the land. An area of roughly three acres was excavated, filled with dirt to reduce seepage, and levelled at 50 metres (160 ft) above riverbank. In the tomb area, wells were dug and filled with stone and rubble to form the footings of the tomb. Instead of lashed bamboo, workmen constructed a colossal brick scaffold that mirrored the tomb. The scaffold was so enormous that foremen estimated it would take years to dismantle.
According to the legend, Shah Jahan decreed that anyone could keep the bricks taken from the scaffold, and thus it was dismantled by peasants overnight. A fifteen kilometre (9.3 mi) tamped-earth ramp was built to transport marble and materials to the construction site and teams of twenty or thirty oxen pulled the blocks on specially constructed wagons. An elaborate post-and-beam pulley system was used to raise the blocks into desired position. Water was drawn from the river by a series of purs, an animal-powered rope and bucket mechanism, into a large storage tank and raised to a large distribution tank. It was passed into three subsidiary tanks, from which it was piped to the complex.
The plinth and tomb took roughly 12 years to complete. The remaining parts of the complex took an additional 10 years and were completed in order of minarets, mosque and jawab, and gateway. Since the complex was built in stages, discrepancies exist in completion dates due to differing opinions on "completion". For example, the mausoleum itself was essentially complete by 1643, but work continued on the rest of the complex. Estimates of the cost of construction vary due to difficulties in estimating costs across time. The total cost has been estimated to be about 32 million Rupees at that time.
The Taj Mahal was constructed using materials from all over India and Asia and over 1,000 elephants were used to transport building materials. The translucent white marble was brought from Makrana, Rajasthan, the jasper from Punjab, jade and crystal from China. The turquoise was from Tibet and the Lapis lazuli fromAfghanistan, while the sapphire came from Sri Lanka and the carnelian from Arabia. In all, twenty eight types of precious and semi-precious stones were inlaid into the white marble.
The construction of the Taj Mahal was entrusted to a board of architects under imperial supervision, including Abd ul-Karim Ma’mur Khan, Makramat Khan, and Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.Lahauri is generally considered to be the principal designer.
A labour force of twenty thousand workers was recruited across northern India. Sculptors from Bukhara, calligraphers from Syria and Persia, inlayers from southern India, stonecutters from Baluchistan, a specialist in building turrets, another who carved only marble flowers were part of the thirty-seven men who formed the creative unit. Some of the builders involved in construction of Taj Mahal are:
• Ismail Afandi (a.k.a. Ismail Khan) of the Ottoman Empire Turkish architect, designer of the main dome.
• Ustad Isa, born either in Shiraz, Ottoman Empire or Agra credited with a key role in the architectural design and main dome.
• ‘Puru’ from Benarus, Persia – has been mentioned as a supervising architect.
• Qazim Khan, a native of Lahore – cast the solid gold finial.
• Chiranjilal, a lapidary from Delhi – the chief sculptor and mosaicist.
• Amanat Khan from Shiraz, Iran – the chief calligrapher.
• Muhammad Hanif – a supervisor of masons.
• Mir Abdul Karim and Mukkarimat Khan of Shiraz – handled finances and management of daily production.
Abdul Hamid Lahauri, the author of the Badshahnama, the official history of Shah Jahan’s reign, calls Taj Mahal rauza-i munawwara, meaning the illumined or illustrious tomb.
Soon after the Taj Mahal’s completion, Shah Jahan was deposed by his son Aurangzeb and put under house arrest at nearby Agra Fort. Upon Shah Jahan’s death, Aurangzeb buried him in the mausoleum next to his wife.
By the late 19th century, parts of the buildings had fallen badly into disrepair. During the time of the Indian rebellion of 1857, the Taj Mahal was defaced by British soldiers and government officials, who chiselled out precious stones and lapis lazuli from its walls. At the end of the 19th century, Britishviceroy Lord Curzon ordered a sweeping restoration project, which was completed in 1908. He also commissioned the large lamp in the interior chamber, modelled after one in a Cairo mosque. During this time the garden was remodelled with British-style lawns that are still in place today.
In 1942, the government erected a scaffolding in anticipation of an air attack by German Luftwaffe and later by Japanese Air Force. During the India-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971, scaffoldings were again erected to mislead bomber pilots.
More recent threats have come from environmental pollution on the banks of Yamuna River including acid rain due to the Mathura Oil Refinery, which was opposed by Supreme Court of India directives. The pollution has been turning the Taj Mahal yellow. To help control the pollution, the Indian government has set up the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ), a 10,400-square-kilometre (4,000 sq mi) area around the monument where strict emissions standards are in place.
Concerns for the tomb’s structural integrity have recently been raised because of a decline in the groundwater level in the Yamuna river basin which is falling at a rate of around 5 feet a year. In 2010, cracks appeared in parts of the tomb, and the minarets which surround the monument were showing signs of tilting, as the wooden foundation of the tomb may be rotting due to lack of water. Some predictions indicate that the tomb may collapse within 5 years.
The Taj Mahal attracts a large number of tourists. UNESCO documented more than 2 million visitors in 2001, including more than 200,000 from overseas. A two tier pricing system is in place, with a significantly lower entrance fee for Indian citizens and a more expensive one for foreigners. Most tourists visit in the cooler months of October, November and February. Polluting traffic is not allowed near the complex and tourists must either walk from parking lots or catch an electric bus. The Khawasspuras (northern courtyards) are currently being restored for use as a new visitor center.
The small town to the south of the Taj, known as Taj Ganji or Mumtazabad, was originally constructed with caravanserais, bazaars and markets to serve the needs of visitors and workmen. Lists of recommended travel destinations often feature the Taj Mahal, which also appears in several listings of Seven wonders of the modern world, including the recently announced New Seven Wonders of the World, a recent poll with 100 million votes.
The grounds are open from 06:00 to 19:00 weekdays, except for Friday when the complex is open for prayers at the mosque between 12:00 and 14:00. The complex is open for night viewing on the day of the full moon and two days before and after,excluding Fridays and the month of Ramadan. For security reasons only five items—water in transparent bottles, small video cameras, still cameras, mobile phones and small ladies’ purses—are allowed inside the Taj Mahal.
Ever since its construction, the building has been the source of an admiration transcending culture and geography, and so personal and emotional responses have consistently eclipsed scholastic appraisals of the monument.
A longstanding myth holds that Shah Jahan planned a mausoleum to be built in black marble as a Black Taj Mahal across the Yamuna river. The idea originates from fanciful writings of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, a European traveller who visited Agra in 1665. It was suggested that Shah Jahan was overthrown by his son Aurangzeb before it could be built. Ruins of blackened marble across the river in Moonlight Garden, Mahtab Bagh, seemed to support this legend. However, excavations carried out in the 1990s found that they were discolored white stones that had turned black. A more credible theory for the origins of the black mausoleum was demonstrated in 2006 by archaeologists who reconstructed part of the pool in the Moonlight Garden. A dark reflection of the white mausoleum could clearly be seen, befitting Shah Jahan’s obsession with symmetry and the positioning of the pool itself.
No evidence exists for claims that describe, often in horrific detail, the deaths, dismemberments and mutilations which Shah Jahan supposedly inflicted on various architects and craftsmen associated with the tomb. Some stories claim that those involved in construction signed contracts committing themselves to have no part in any similar design. Similar claims are made for many famous buildings. No evidence exists for claims that Lord William Bentinck, governor-general of India in the 1830s, supposedly planned to demolish the Taj Mahal and auction off the marble. Bentinck’s biographer John Rosselli says that the story arose from Bentinck’s fund-raising sale of discarded marble from Agra Fort.
Another myth suggests that beating the silhouette of the finial will cause water to come forth. To this day, officials find broken bangles surrounding the silhouette.
In 2000, India’s Supreme Court dismissed P. N. Oak’s petition to declare that a Hindu king built the Taj Mahal. In 2005 a similar petition was dismissed by the Allahabad High Court. This case was brought by Amar Nath Mishra, a social worker and preacher who says that the Taj Mahal was built by the Hindu King Parmar Dev in 1196.
SOURCE :- WIKIPEDIA