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|The front bumper is located, naturally, at the front of a car. It is made from heavy sheet metal and is pressed and bent into very specific shapes to fit the profile of the front of the car, and more importantly, to absorb the momentum in the event of an impact with another vehicle, or a stationary object.
The front bumper absorbs as much momentum as possible from an impact, thereby protecting the car as much as possible. This also serves to decrease any possible damage to the driver and passengers as well. At the moment of impact, the front bumper attempts to divert the car's forward momentum to the object that it has collided with. This serves to help protect the front of the car.
Front bumpers are mounted directly on to the chassis of the car. The have special impact shock absorbers, often spring loaded. These, of course, work best in collisions that occur at slow speeds where the absorber can fully compress to absorb the impact, and then extend out again to its original position after the impact. This sort of front bumper will avoid damage to the rest of the car as long as the speed of impact is not too high.
The first cars barely had a front bumper. Then it was discovered that cars could bump into objects and cause damage to themselves and to other objects. The front bumper was born. In the early days it was little more than a sturdy strap of iron that folded across the front of the vehicle. It was the car component in the most forward position, so it took the brunt of any impact, though it didn't help very much usually.
By the 1960s the front bumper had become a bright gleaming chrome affair. Self-repairing front bumpers became popular in the 1970s. They even became a required item on a car. However, by the 1980s they had largely gone out of style and had been replaced by fiberglass front bumpers. These cracked on impact, absorbing some of the collision, but invariably destroying the front bumper itself.
Interestingly, because of the trend towards front bumpers that are now made from rubber, plastic, or even light steel, which do little to protect the front of the car, or its occupants, an entire industry has developed that caters to the after-market for such cars.
A variety of guards that are both protective of the front bumper, and more protective of the car and its passengers, is now available for most models. The front bumper overlay simply covers the entire existing structure, effectively replacing it. This also allows car owners to obtain a front bumper overlay that looks better than the original, as well as investing in a product that will help to protect the car better.
Of course, the bumper sticker is another industry that has grown up around car bumpers. More usually it is the back bumper, rather than the front bumper that is used, but stickers are often seen on the front as well. They are usually witty in nature, or funny. Occasionally they can be political, inspirational, or designed to shock.