History of the Automobile History of the Automobile Automobiles are one of the most important and prominent inventions possibly ever created. Without automobiles our lives would be completely changed and different. Automobiles changed the way people traveled and lived. Without cars there would be no drive-ins, drive-thru fast food restaurants, and shopping centers. People depend on their cars whether they’re earning their living, or traveling to their dream vacation spot. The United States is the leading producer of automobiles and is often called the “Nation On Wheels.” The U.S has become very dependent on cars for transportation.
Racing automobiles is also a very popular sport which attracts millions of enthusiasts nation-wide. Whether it’s a local race track, or a huge Nascar track, people love racing and the thrill, and also the danger. The history of automobiles is a long, and laborious one. From the first self propelled road vehicle created in the 1790’s, to the modern road machine of today, it hasn’t been an easy road to follow (no pun intended) for the automobile. Many people mocked the car, and you used to hear the phrase “Get a horse” a lot back when cars were first mass produced.
Even with these vicissitudes, the automobile has overcome these hardships to become one of the most required inventions ever assembled. The steam car was the first road vehicle that could travel by themselves, even though they had a top speed of a whopping 3 miles per hour, and had to stop every 10 to 15 minutes to build up steam. The first vehicle that could carry passengers was produced until 1801. These steam carriages annoyed people very much by being noisy, dirty, and by frightening horses. Many american inventors tampered with steam automobiles such as J.N Carhart, Richard Dudgeon, and Sylvester H.
Roper, but the most sucessful were the Stanley twins, Francis E. and Freelan O. The electric car was actually popular in America in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s. One of America’s pioneer electric cars was built in about 1890 by William Morrison in Des Moines Iowa. People liked the electric car because it was easy to operate, ran quietly, and didn’t excrete putrid fumes.
But of course there were drawbacks like you couldn’t go over 20 miles per hour and the battery had to be recharged constantly. For these reasons the electric car was replaced by the gasoline engine. The general design of modern automobiles was developed in France. Emile Levassor and Rene Panhard built their first cars in 1890 using a Daimler engine. These cars used chains like those found in bicycles to carry the engine’s power to the back wheels. Many American inventors experimented with gasoline powered vehicles in the early 1890’s.
Many claimed that they were the first to design and build sucessfully a automobile. Most pioneers of the automobile later became famous in the industry. The creation of the first auto assembly line was caused by a fire that destroyed the Olds Motor Works in Detroit. This caused Olds to sign contracts with the owners of small machine shops to manufacture many parts for his cars. With this method, the company built 425 cars in 1901, 3750 in 1902, and 500 in 1903.
Most car companies followed the Olds company by using mass production. Henry M. Leland, president of the Cadillac Automobile Company developed the concept of using interchangeable parts. This was a big step because the interchangeable parts could be used to assemble or repair any car of the same model. Henry Ford’s goal was a low-priced car that many people in all walks of life could afford.
The outcome of his goal: The Model T. It sold for $850, but Ford installed a moving assembly line in his factory and they could then produce a car in a hour and a half which then caused the car to be sold for $400, the lowest price of any automobile. Over 15 million were sold. During the 1920’s it was a race between Ford and GM. They were the leading producers of cars at that time. By 1937, GM was producing about 35% of the worlds automobiles.
Design changed a lot during 1920’s. Body lines became more graceful and the closed car became popular. Engines became more powerful and quieter and many other improvements came during this period. During World War 2 production of cars for civilians almost halted because the factories were being used for military supplies. After WW2, more improvements were made and foreign cars became more popular. Today 41 millions vehicles are produced every year in which one third come from the U.S Gasoline shortages and wrecks are a few of the problems of the industry today.
Even with all the problems the auto industry went through, the good part is that it did make it through.