The History of The Automobile
An automobile is a wheeled motor vehicle which carries its own motor or engine and is used for transportation. It has increased personal mobility and allowed people to live far from their workplaces leading to suburbs formation and the decrease of the people living in the urban areas. The automobile is the most revolutionary invention in transportation history since the discovery of the wheel. However, it was not a single day invention and was not done by a single inventor. The automobile history depicts an evolution in technology that took place all over the world over the centuries.
The first vision of a self propelled machine used for transportation was first thought in the late 1400s by Leonardo Da Vinci, he referred to them as carriages with no horses. However, it is approximated that not less than 100,000 patents yielded the modern automobile. The earliest invention of the modern car began in the early 1769, with the invention of steam engine automobiles by a French inventor and Belgian military engineer known as Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot. He demonstrated his Faidier, in 1770 and 1771. It was a three-wheeled, steam powered, 2.3-mph automobile. This machine proved impractical due to its slow speed and was not easier to operate than a horse drawn vehicle. As a result it was never put into production. By 1784, a practical design of a steam carriage was built by William Murdoch and in 1801 a full-sized vehicle by Richard Trevithick.
Electric cars were also invented alongside the steam vehicles. In 1828, an electric motor was invented by Anyos Jedick, a Hungarian. Vermont Blacksmith Thomas Davenport, who invented the foremost American DC, used the motor in a small model car and operated it on a track that is electrified. A Groningen Professor Sibrandus Stratingh and his assistant Christopher Becker invented a small-scale electric motor car which used non-rechargeable primary cells in 1835. An electric locomotive was also created in 1838 by Scotsman Robert Davidson. Between 1832 and 1839, Robert Anderson built the first crude electric carriage in Scotland.
Despite the discovery of steam powered engine and electric cars, many inventors were convinced that even more effective ways of running an engine were possible. Through tinkering and experimentation, the modern internal combustion engine finally came to birth. This is an engine that uses the explosive combustion of fuel for propulsion. The commonly used fuels include diesel, gasoline and kerosene, but the early inventors used gases. The first gas powered car was invented in 1806, by Francois Isaac de Rivas, a Swiss engineer, who created an engine using a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen. Samuel Brown also tested his hydrogen fueled engine in 1826 as well as Etienne Lenoir’s Hippomobile, a Belgian, who tested his in 1860. A later version of internal combustion engine used coal gas for propulsion.
The first internal combustion engine using gasoline was first invented by Siegfried Marcus of Austria in around 1870. However, a practical internal combustion engine was invented in Germany by several inventors including Karl Benz who created his first motor car in 1885. Benz began the first manufacture of cars in 1888.
Soon after, in 1889 Wilhelm Maybach and Gottlieb Daimler built an automobile powered by a 1.5 hp and a two-cylinder gasoline engine with a four-speed transmission. The gasoline powered motor car was then popular throughout the nineteenth century with a few being manufactured in the US and Europe.
In 1890, production of automobiles on a commercial scale began in France. Commercial production in the US and Europe started in early 1990’s. The first automobile to be produced for the masses in the US was the three-horsepower, 1901 Curved Dash Oldsmobile, built by Ransom E. Olds. The manufacturing firm became successful and several automobile-manufacturing firms went into the industry in the US including the Ford Motor Company, organized in June 1903 and by 1920, the firm had sold millions of cars.
At first, the automobile entered the transportation industry as a fashion for the rich. However, it became popular in the entire population over the years due to its benefits as it made traveling more convenient and efficient. Henry Ford of Michigan, who had created his first gasoline-powered automobile in 1896, is highly credited for the automobile mass production. He offered affordable prices for his cars which made them more accessible to the middle class.
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