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Imagine calling in sick because you hurt yourself cranking too hard in a rush to leave the house. Well, it’s been a century since that excuse held any water thanks to Cadillac.
A century ago, the American automaker ushered in a new era of technological innovations with its electric starter that debuted on the 1912 Cadillac Touring Edition. Prior to that, people had the enjoyment of trying to start their car with a hand crank, which took a lot of muscle and a bit of hope.
Back in those days, hand cranking to start a car could be so tough that it could break a person’s arm, or worse. As cars grew larger so did their engines, which meant it would take even more effort to start them. Enter Cadillac who arguably changed the entire game with their electric self starter.
“Hand cranking was the No. 1 injury risk in those early days of the automobile,” said Greg Wallace, director of the General Motors Heritage Center.
Considered one of the most significant innovations in the history of the automobile, Cadillac began a marketing spree that involved showing women driving their vehicles, proving that anyone could start their cars and drive away safely and easily. Since then, the company spent the last century continuing to innovate with many new technologies that are not only seen in their vehicles, but in many elite sports cars in today’s market.
Some of these innovations include automatic climate control and heated seats, auto headlights, first tilt-telescoping steering wheel, air-cushion restraint system, OnStar, Magnetic Ride Control, and more recently, CUE. Cadillac is particularly proud of their Magnetic Ride Control which has been adopted by other automakers “on a handful of elite sports cars.”
“As a premium brand even in its earliest days, Cadillac positioned itself as a technology and innovation leader as a way to set it apart from the dozens of other auto companies,” Wallace said.
Despite the myriad innovations Cadillac can claim, there are still some serious faults in the not-so-distant past that we’re inclined to mention. For example, the Escalade was, for years, one of the easiest – and most expensive cars to steal. It wasn’t until the current model year that Caddy caught on and started making life harder for fiends running the luxury SUVs onto flatbeds and into chop shops.