Rev Fr Alfred Anthony Juliano

Rev Fr Alfred Anthony Juliano

Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 2 Mar 1989 (aged 69)
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Memorial ID 103109645 View Source
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Priest, engineer, artist and inventor. In 1957 he designed, developed and built the Aurora automobile, considered to be the first automobile devoted to the concept of passenger safety. Fr. Juliano was born to Louis and Catherine Juliano, and in his early youth was considered to be gifted in the arts and sciences. At thirteen, he joined the Order of the Holy Ghost Seminary in Cornwell Heights, Pennsylvania for clerical studies towards joining the Roman Catholic priesthood. During this period, he was designing and sketching plans for automobiles and airplanes. General Motors learned of his skills and offered Juliano a position in a school for creative young designers, but Juliano deigned to continue his priestly vocation.

On June 4, 1946, Alfred Juliano was ordained into the Congregation of the Holy Ghost at Ridgefield, Pennsylvania, and earned his degree in theology a year later.

For the next three years, Fr. Juliano taught physics and served as chaplain at Saint Emma Military Academy in Virginia, where he continued his design work. His connections at St. Emma enabled him to consult experts in related creative fields, who in turn referred him to other resources.

By 1954, he strove for his doctorate in arts or aerodynamics at Yale University, and was coincidentally appointed by the Order to be assistant pastor at St. Mary's Church in Branford, Connecticut, near Yale, where he found time to work on his dream, the Aurora Safety Car.

The Aurora was revolutionary in being perhaps the world's first auto to incorporate shock-absorbing body-color bumpers with a padded dashboard, telescopic steering wheel, seat belts, roll-bars, and shatterproof windows and lighting. Its smooth exterior foreswore snags and sharp edges. Fr. Juliano designed its bulging windshield to reduce the incidence of head injuries by increasing the distance between driver and passengers.

The Aurora was not a success for several reasons. On November 11, 1957, Father Juliano drove the new car for the first time to begin a 120-city tour. On the way to the New Yorker Hotel, it had stalled fifteen times due to fuel problems. The press detailed the car's travails and barely mentioned its safety features. Father Juliano's Custom Automobile Corp. of America, which was to build the Aurora Safety Car, fell into debt. By September of 1958, Father Juliano had left the Order.

Father Juliano, now in financial straits, returned to Philadelphia to care for his ill mother. During Christmas of 1988, Alfred Juliano was found to have sustained a massive brain hemorrhage while in a library. He was hospitalized, where he passed away peacefully the following March.

His prototype Aurora Safety Car has been restored and now is on display at the Beaulieu National Motor Museum.