John W. Hetrick (July 23, 1918 - April 8, 1999), from Newport, Pennsylvania, was an American engineer who is credited for inventing the airbag. Hetrick originally called the device a "Safety cushion assembly for automotive vehicles."
He has served as an industrial engineer in the United States Navy and took notable design influences from compressed air torpedoes.
Hetrick received a US Patent #2,649,311 on August 18, 1953 airbag and can be reviewed at https://www.google.com/patents/US2649311
Hetrick was awarded the Golden Gear Award for his invention.