We take airbags for granted today, being the preferred way for most of us not to slam our faces into windshields and dashboards at speed. But it's easy to forget just how difficult it was to get them in cars a few decades ago. This little NYT Retroreport does a nice job recapping the fight.

With the recent batch of airbag-related recalls, it's worthwhile to look back at the history of these face-preserving devices, and just how incredibly far they've come.