Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Paul A. Dunn: So Others May Drive

New Auto Design Gives the Legs a Day Off

Courier Express February 11, 1954

   What the style-wise motorist will be driving in 1954 is no longer a secret. All you have to do is look at the 125 cars at the Buffalo Auto Show this week at the Masten Avenue Armory. But what will the car of tomorrow be like?  This years model seems to have everything -- from cigarette lighters to radios, to power steering, electrically manipulated windows and push button seat control.  What other gadgets and comforts could anyone dream up?
Patent Drawing of Dunn's Invention
  A young Western New York inventor thinks he knows the answer. After 15 years of research and development, he is showing his product this week for the first time at any auto show. In an almost obscure corner on the north side of the armory, Paul A. Dunn Jr., 27 Columbia Dr. Kenmore, is exhibiting his Dunn Drive Control.  He thinks the gadget which sells, including installation, for a comparatively small amount, will become optional equipment with all makes of cars a few years hence.
   The gadget which can be operated with a single finger, makes the use of your legs in driving unnecessary. It operates both brake and gas pedals on cars with automatic shifts and also the clutch pedal on cars with conventional shift.
  "Why should we use our legs when we can drive with our hands"? asked Dunn. "On long drives our legs can get very tired from driving.  Also reaction tests have shown the hand is 20% quicker than the foot in reflex actions. That means, stopping a car with hand controls is much safer. Originally designed for physically handicapped persons, Dunn said most of his sales still are to amputees and paraplegics. The hand controls can be installed on any car in about 30 minutes and do not interfere if anyone else wants to drive the car by conventional method.  
  Dunn also manufactures portable controls. These make it possible for handicapped persons to install the equipment on rented cars when they are out of town. With the help of the controls, almost anyone who can sit in a wheel chair also can learn to provide himself with self-transportation in a car, Dunn said.
   25 years in Auto Business 
   A native of Buffalo, the 45 year old Dunn was graduated from School 59 and Technical High School.  He spent 25 years operating his own auto collision business before he started designing aids for the handicapped. The Driving controls, which do not mar the car and can be detached without leaving any marks, consists of a horizontal bar running out from the steering column. Attached to the bar are two "trombone slide" crisscrossed rods, one extending to the brake pedal, the other to the gas pedal. Pulling or pushing slightly on the bar, the driver can apply or take off pressure on either pedal simultaneously.


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