The improvement of the automobile is a history fraught with ingenuity which would gradually culminate in better models. Fitting right in this history is the invention of the rear view mirror.

Who

The person credited with inventing the rear view mirror is a man named Ray Harroun, an engineer with Marmon, then a car maker. Harroun inserted a mirror in his car, a Marmon Wasp.

When

Ray's invention took place in the spring of 1911, on May 30, right before going to race the very first Indianapolis 500. He won first place, winning $14,250. (Another driver contested the result, but Harroun's victory remained complete.)

Why

Before rear view mirrors, car racers would have another person (a riding mechanic) to tell them where other drivers in the race were and also provide other help. Harroun couldn't find a riding mechanic so, going without one, he installed the mirror instead.