Segments in this Video

History of Performance Testing (07:23)


Manufacturers put cars through quality assurance and safety tests to create the safest and sturdiest cars in the American auto industry. GM is responsible for the nation's first automotive testing ground and facility; car crash dummies were introduced after being developed by the Air Force during World War II. CTDs were later redesigned and developed based on the human skeleton.

Crash Testing Planes (08:11)

The American Military began crashing planes in the 1920s to pinpoint when and how the aircraft would burst into flames following a crash. Airplanes and jets became a popular form of travel in the 1950s. The FAA only conducted one in-air plane crash test, which studied how fireballs erupt following a crash, but the test failed when the plane hit the ground at an unplanned angle.

Product Testing (04:44)

William Henry Merrill Created Underwriters Laboratories and began testing safes to safeguard people's money; the company started by testing electricity before installing it in American homes. Most major insurance companies would not back a new project if it had not been tested and perfected by Underwriters Laboratories.

Consumer Testing (05:10)

Consumers Union created an anonymous network of shoppers all across the United States with which they tested products and created "Consumer Reports Magazine." The union has, from its founding, scientifically tested products for the claims put in advertisements by the sellers.

Testing Safety Procedures (07:36)

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been intentionally setting fires since 1901 to study how materials burn and fires spread. Experts describe all of the components which contribute to a fire; many of the tests conducted by NIST study flashover, the ignition point of a fire.

Avoiding Battlefield Recalls (09:56)

The Department of Defense has a large program that tests every vehicle, weapon, piece of equipment, and artillery to ensure they work without any glitches. The Aberdeen Testing Center is the site of many tests, including weather testing which takes place at the Eglin Air Force Base where they undergo solar radiation, climate extremes, and simulated natural disasters.

Credits: Crash Testing (01:07)

Credits: Crash Testing

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Modern Marvels: Crash Testing

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This episode delves into the little-known, hugely important, multi-billion-dollar industry of product testing—where wrinkles get ironed out and goods are stripped of marketing and hype to see if they work.

Length: 46 minutes

Item#: BVL160886

Copyright date: ©1999

Closed Captioned

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Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.