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Archive of posts published in the category: History
Apr
4

Science of Cycling: A History of Bicycling Timeline

Timeline

1817 Baron von Drais invents the Draisine (also known as a Hobby Horse
or Swift-Walker), an improved celerifere than can be steered with handlebars.



 Draisine  Draisine


1839 Kirkpatrick MacMilan of Scotland adds cranks and treadmills
to the rear axle of a two-wheeled vehicle, but gains only local notoriety.


1858 Pedals are added to the front wheel of a two-wheeled machine,
creating a bone-jarring machine challed the velocipede or “boneshaker.”

 Velocipede  Velocipede

1868 Velocipedes are manufactured in the United States and velocipede
riding becomes a popular fad.

1869 Solid rubber tires replace iron velocipede tires and the
term “bicycle” is first used.


1872 The Ariel, the first high-wheel Ordinary, is manufactured
in Britian.


 Ordinary  Ordinary

1876 The Ordinary or high-wheeler is first displayed in America.

1877 First U.S.-made Ordinary manufactured.


1880 League of American Wheelmen is founded and begins lobbying
for better roads.


 


1884 Thomas Stevens pedals across the United States –from Oakland,
California, to Boston Massachusetts. J. K. Starley invents the “safety
bicycle.”


 Saftey Bicycle  Starley Saftey bicycle

1889 Pneumatic rubber tires invented.


1894 Fashion designers re-introduce the bloomer costume, freeing
women from the restrictive corsets and dress of the time.


1895 Chicago puts its mailmen on bicycles; the price of a good-quality
horse reaches a new low; four schoolmarms stir up controversy by wearing
bloomers to work.


1896 Margaret Valentine Le Long rides from Chicago to San Francisco;
coaster brakes are invented; Henry Ford builds his first succesful automobile.


Ford’s first automobile  Ford's Automobile


1898 Bicyles’ popularity in the United States declines.


1899 “Mile-a-Minute” Murphy sets a bicycle speed record
— one mile in 57.75 seconds.


1903 Bicycle mechanics Wilbur and Orville Wright fly 120 feet
in the first succesful airplane.


1962 New bicycle boom begins.


1972 Bicycles outsell cars in the United States –13 million to
11 million; bicycle thefts account for 17% of all larcenies in the U.S.


1973 Dr. Allan Abbott sets a bicycle speed record, reaching 138.674
mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats.


1975 First Internation Human Powered Speed Championships held.


1976 2,000 cyclists celebrate the Bicentennial by riding across
America.

1981 The Specialized Stumpjumper became the first mass-produced mountain
bikes. It helps popularize the sport.


1984 The road race becomes the first women’s cycling event at
the Olympics.


1985 John Howard of the US sets a new bicycle speed record of
152.284 mph. The first person to go over 150 miles an hour on a bicycle.


1995 Fred Rompelberg of the Netherlands sets a new bicycle speed
record of 166.9 mph. At the time, he was 50 years old, and the world’s
oldest professional cyclist.


1996 Mountain biking introduced as an Olympic sport.


 

Source Article

Apr
3

Automobile History – Top 10 Interesting Facts


Automobiles have been around since as early as 1769, when the first steam engine powered automobiles were produced. In 1807, Francois Isaac de Rivaz designed the first car that was powered by an internal combustion engine running on fuel gas. The journey of modern automobiles began in 1886 when German inventor Karl Benz created an automobile that featured wire wheels with a four-stroke engine fitted between the rear wheels. Named as ‘Benz Patent Motorwagen’, it was the first automobile that generated its own power, which is the reason why Karl Benz was given its patent and is called the inventor of modern automobiles.


So we shortlisted ten things you probably did not know about the history of automobiles.


1. Adolf Hitler ordered Ferdinand Porsche to manufacture a Volkswagen, which literally means ‘People’s Car’ in German. This car went on to become the Volkswagen Beetle.


Volkswagen Beetle Prototype Sketch


What’s also interesting to know is that a surviving sketch from the 1930s – that was allegedly penciled by Hitler himself – looks similar to the production version of the first Beetle. The drawing was said to have been given to Daimler-Benz before being given to Porsche in Nuremberg.


2. In 1971, the cabinet of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi proposed the production of a ‘People’s Car’ for India – the contract of which was given to Sanjay Gandhi. Before contacting Suzuki, Sanjay Gandhi held talks with Volkswagen AG for a possible joint venture, encompassing transfer of technology and joint production of the Indian version of the ‘People’s car’, that would also mirror Volkswagen’s global success with the Beetle.


Maruti 800


However, it was Suzuki that won the final contract since it was quicker in providing a feasible design. The resulting car was based on Suzuki’s Model 796 and went on to rewrite automotive history in India as the Maruti 800.


3. Rolls-Royce Ltd. was essentially a car and airplane engine making company, established in 1906 by Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce.


Rolls Royce First Car Sivler Ghost


The same year, Rolls-Royce rolled out its first car, the Silver Ghost. In 1907, the car set a record for traversing 24,000 kilometers during the Scottish reliability trials.


4. The most expensive car ever sold at a public auction was a 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula 1 race car, which went for a staggering $30 million at Bonhams in July 2013. The record was previously held by a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa Prototype, sold in California at an auction for $16.4 million.


5. As a young man, Henry Ford used to repair watches for his friends and family using tools he made himself. He used a corset stay as tweezers and a filed shingle nail as a screwdriver.


Henry Ford with Model T Ford


6. In the year 1916, 55 per cent of the cars in the world were Model T Ford, which is still an unbroken record.

7. Volkswagen named several of its cars after wind. Passat –

Apr
2

Vehicle History Reports

Last Modified: March 25, 2020 by Jeff Ostroff | Originally Published April 25, 2007

If you are in the market for a used car, you must get a Vehicle History Report AND have the car inspected by a certified mechanic on a lift. Do not buy a used car without these two very important pieces of information. Making an educated decision on a used car purchase can save you thousands of dollars. Don’t make a huge mistake. You have been warned!

1. Why You Need a Vehicle History Report

  • It gives you a window into the car’s past.
  • According to the US Government roughly a half million cars are sold with fraudulent odometer readings annually, costing used car buyers over a billion dollars. Our research indicates many more go unreported!
  • The Office of Odometer Fraud Investigations has reported a sharp increase in odometer fraud. Elevated used car prices coupled with a tight supply of low-mileage used cars, has made odometer fraud more profitable than ever.
  • Natural disasters such as Super Storm Sandy damaged over a quarter million cars! Many of these cars get cleaned up, rebuilt and put back on the market.

2. What is In a Vehicle History Report

A used car history report contains vehicle records including data from state DMV’s, auto auctions, manufacturers, car dealers, police reported accidents and repair shops. A history report may reveal more about that used car than the seller is willing to tell you.

AutoCheck clean

An AutoCheck Report can reveal:

  • Number of previous owners, when it was sold & what states it was sold in.
  • Total loss, flooded, rebuilt wreck & salvage titles
  • Accident data including airbag deployment
  • Potential odometer rollback fraud
  • Year, make, model, engine, location of manufacture and installed equipment
  • Check if the car has been turned in under the “Lemon Law”
  • Exclusive valuable auto auction data
  • Indication if vehicle has been certified used, leased, rental, fleet or government vehicle

To get a better feel for what is contained in a report, click here to view a sample report. You’ll be able to go through all of the sections and see how all of the valuable information is presented.

3. Beware of “Free” Vehicle History Reports

Don’t be fooled by empty reports that just give you generic data on a VIN. Some sites out there ask you a bunch of questions to make it seem like they need information to give you a complete report. Don’t be tricked by this tactic! A real history report doesn’t need to know what state you are in.

Some sites out there will really try to make you think they are gathering information by having spinning wheels and status bars waste a bunch of time. These displays are just an illusion. Any legitimate report will be pulled in seconds from information in a database.

No free report will give you the information that you really need. They might give you a lot of information in a slick format but it is not the important information

Apr
1

Velocipede Bicycle History and Facts


Velocipede is a term that describes human powered land vehicle with two or more wheels that has managed to become a synonym for the word bicycle in the
early history of those travel devices. However, even though the word “velocipede” was most famously used to describe balanced bicycle designs that had
pedals, the earliest appearance of the world Velocipede was tightly connected with the devices known as dandy horses, draisienne or hobby horses that were
originally invented as by the German Baron Karl Drais. Dandy horse bicycles featured very simple design where users propelled themselves by manually
reaching with legs to the ground where they could walk, run and then rest their legs while the force propelled simple bicycle forward.

Picture Of Different Velocipedes


First notable improvement upon dandy horse design arrived in 1818 by French inventor Nicéphore Niépce (best known as the father of modern photography), who
mounted adjustable seating position on this early dandy horse design. He named his invention velocipede, but that name was accepted all across the Europe
only around 50 years later when France became home of the first organized factory that produced first modern two-wheeled bicycle nicknamed Boneshaker that
was produced by Michaux Company.


Between 1817 when Nicéphore Niépce created his first velocipede and 1880 when first “safety bicycles” became highly popular across Europe, bicycle designs
were highly varied. Velocipedes created in that period came in many forms – monowheel, unicycle, bicycle, dicycle, tricycle and quadracycle. They all had
pedals, but no chain drive. The most popular velocipede design of that time was two wheeled penny-farthing, which featured very big front wheel and small
rear wheel. This design was popular after the introduction of chain drive-powered boneshaker, and it was a first velocipede type that was openly called
“bicycle”. Penny-farthing was not popular for large period of time, but during height of its use it became a synonym of a late Victorian era and origin
point of a cycling as a popular pastime and a sport.


Success of penny-farthing and French boneshaker had more lasting influence on the history of the bicycle. Its designs received numerous upgrades in the
decades after they were originally unveiled, leading up to the creation of the safety bicycle in the 1880s. They featured diamond frame design, two
identical wheels, use of rubber tires, pedals, and chain drive mechanism that enabled easier transfer of rotating force to the rear wheel. After
introduction of safety bicycles, the age of velocipedes came to an end, except in rare situations when some three or four-wheeled designs still remained in
use for industrial or railroad purposes (Draisine).


Today, velocipedes are still celebrated by several international cycling organizations, and they can be seen in public mostly at various circus shows or
public events with professional entertainers.

Source Article

Mar
30

History of transportation | technology

History of transportation | technology | Britannica

technology

Learn about this topic in these articles:

contribution to

  • agriculture and trade development
  • Industrial Revolution
    • Encyclopædia Britannica: first edition, map of Europe

      In history of Europe: Economic effects

      …production heightened demands on the transportation system to move raw materials and finished products. Massive road and canal building programs were one response, but steam engines also were directly applied as a result of inventions in Britain and the United States. Steam shipping plied major waterways soon after 1800 and…

      Read More

    • mass production: assembly line

      In mass production: The Industrial Revolution and early developments

      …rail, barge, ship, and road transportation. The new transport companies not only enabled factories to obtain raw materials and to ship finished products over increasingly large distances, but they also created a substantial demand for the output of the new industries.

      Read More

  • logistics
    • Orange and Alexandria Railroad wrecked by retreating Confederates, Manassas, Va. Photograph by George N. Barnard, March 1862.

      In logistics: Transportation and communication

      The railroad, the steamship, and the telegraph had a profound impact on logistic method during the last half of the 19th century. Beginning with the Crimean War (1854–56), telegraphic communication became an indispensable tool of command, intelligence, and operational coordination, particularly in

      Read More

  • urban populations
    • In urbanization

      in agriculture and transportation. As farming became more productive, it produced a surplus of food. The development of means of transportation, dating from the invention of the wheel about 3500 bce, made it possible for the surplus from the countryside to feed urban populations, a system that continues…

      Read More

    • Ancient Roman road shown in cross section.

      In city: Ancient world

      …the need for improving the circulation of goods and people became ever more acute. Pre-Neolithic humans, who led a nomadic existence in their never-ending search for food, moved largely by foot and carried their essential goods with the help of other humans. Neolithic people, upon achieving the domestication of animals,…

      Read More

    • Georges-Eugène Haussmann's modernization plan transformed many areas of Paris through the addition of wider boulevards, better lighting and water sanitation, new parks, and improved rail transportation.

      In urban planning: The era of industrialization

      …of the contemporary city was transportation technology. The evolution of transport modes from foot and horse to mechanized vehicles facilitated tremendous urban territorial expansion. Workers were able to live far from their jobs, and goods could move quickly from point of production to market. However, automobiles and buses rapidly congested…

      Read More

regional and national systems

  • Austria
    • Austria

      In Austria: The Age of Metternich, 1815–48

      …of an Austrian infrastructure of railroads and water transport. The first railroad on the European Continent appeared between Linz (Austria) and Budweis (now Ceské Budejovice, Czech Republic); it was a horse-drawn railway between the Danube and the Moldau (Vltava) rivers, which in fact was a connection between the Danube and…

      Read More

  • Pacific Ocean
    • The Pacific Ocean, with depth contours and submarine features.

      In Pacific Ocean: Trade and transportation

      …in the size of its transportation infrastructure. Japan, South Korea, China, and the Philippines rank high in ship ownership, and Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are among the world’s major shipbuilding countries. In addition to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the other major ports in the eastern…

      Read More

  • Song dynasty China
    • Political map of China rendered in Pinyin

      In China: Song culture

      Transportation facilities improved, allowing production away from the sources of supplies and making products available to

Mar
29

Planes, Trains and Automobiles: The History of Transportation

Planes, Trains and Automobiles:

Before every other form of transportation, humans traveled on foot. Can you imagine walking from New York City to Los Angeles? Fortunately, human beings learned to use animals such as donkeys, horses and camels for transportation from 4000 BC to 3000 BC. In 3500 BC, the wheel was invented in Iraq and the first wheel was made from wood. Initially, a canoe-like structure was used for water transportation, which was built by burning logs and digging out the burned wood. In 3100BC, the sailing boat was invented by Egyptians while the Romans built roads across Europe. During the Industrial Revolution, the first modern highway was developed by John Loudon McAdam.

In the 17th and 18th century, many new modes of transportation were invented such as bicycles, trains, motor cars, trucks, airplanes, and trams. In 1906, the first car was developed with an internal combustion engine. Many types of transportation systems such as boats, trains, airplanes, and automobiles were based on the internal combustion engine.

The three leading automobile companies in the US in the 1920s were General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford. Furthermore, several styles of automobiles were produced such as the two doors, small, large, sports cars, and luxury cars. Presently, the latest car models have integrated improved standardization, computer aided systems, and platform sharing. The modern railroad system uses remote control for traffic lights and movement of traffic, capable of speeds of more than 570 km/hr.

History of Airplanes

The Wright Brothers were the first to develop a sustained and powered aircraft in 1902. Earlier, an unmanned helicopter powered by a steam engine was developed in 1877 by Enrico Forlanini. Later, bomber aircrafts such as Lancaster and B-29 were designed, and the first commercial jet airline was flown by British pilot De Havilland Comet. Today, commercial aircrafts can fly at the speed of 960 km/hr, transporting people at a lower cost in less time. Currently, unmanned remote controlled aircraft such as Global Hawk is used in military operations.

History of Trains

Trains are connected vehicles which run on rails. They are powered by steam, electricity or diesel. The steam engine is mostly fueled by coal, wood or oil. The first steam powered engine to be used in trains was introduced by James Watt, a Scottish inventor. The first rail transportation was used to move coal from mines to rivers.

The modern rail system was developed in England in 1820, progressing to steam locomotives. In 1825, Stockton and Darlington Railways opened and underground railway was first built in 1863 in London. In 1880, electric trains and the trams were developed. Today, most of the steam locomotives have been replaced by diesel. The fastest commercial High Speed Rail trains which use magnetic levitation technology can go up to 431 km/hr.

History of Automobiles

Automobiles based on internal combustion engine were first patented by Jean Lenoir of France in 1860. The first gasoline powered automobile was developed by Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz in 1885. Modern

Mar
29

The Brief History of Transportation

Whether by land or by sea, humans have always sought to traverse the earth and move to new locations. The evolution of transportation has brought us from simple canoes to space travel, and there’s no telling where we could go next and how we will get there. The following is a brief history of transportation, dating from the first vehicles 900,000 years ago to the modern day.

Early Boats and Horses

The first mode of transportation was created in the effort to traverse water: boats. Those who colonized Australia roughly 60,000–40,000 years ago have been credited as the first people to cross the sea, though there is some evidence that seafaring trips were carried out as far back as 900,000 years ago.

The earliest known boats were simple logboats, also referred to as dugouts, which were made by hollowing out a tree trunk. Evidence for these floating vehicles comes from artifacts that date back to around 10,000–7,000 years ago. The Pesse canoe—a logboat—is the oldest boat unearthed and dates as far back as 7600 BCE. Rafts have been around nearly as long, with artifacts showing them in use for at least 8,000 years.

Next, came horses. While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when humans first began domesticating them as a means of getting around and transporting goods, experts generally go by the emergence of certain human biological and cultural markers that indicate when such practices started to take place.

Based on changes in teeth records, butchering activities, shifts in settlement patterns, and historic depictions, experts believe that domestication took place around 4000 BCE. Genetic evidence from horses, including changes in musculature and cognitive function, support this.

It was also roughly around this period that the wheel was invented. Archaeological records show that the first wheeled vehicles were in use around 3500 BCE, with evidence of the existence of such contraptions found in Mesopotamia, the Northern Caucuses, and Central Europe. The earliest well-dated artifact from that time period is the “Bronocice pot,” a ceramic vase that depicts a four-wheeled wagon that featured two axles. It was unearthed in southern Poland.

Steam Machines: Steamboats, Automobiles, and Locomotives

In 1769, the Watt steam engine changed everything. Boats were among the first to take advantage of steam-generated power; in 1783, a French inventor by the name of Claude de Jouffroy built the “Pyroscaphe,” the world’s first steamship. But despite successfully making trips up and down the river and carrying passengers as part of a demonstration, there wasn’t enough interest to fund further development.

While other inventors tried to make steamships that were practical enough for mass transport, it was American Robert Fulton who furthered the technology to where it was commercially viable. In 1807, the Clermont completed a 150-mile trip from New York City to Albany that took 32 hours, with the average speed clocking in at about five miles per hour. Within a few years, Fulton and company would offer regular passenger and freight service between New Orleans; Louisiana; and Natchez, Mississippi.

Back

Mar
29

History of the Bicycle

A modern bicycle by definition is a rider-powered vehicle with two wheels in tandem, powered by the rider turning pedals connected to the rear wheel by a chain, and having handlebars for steering and a saddle-like seat for the rider. With that definition in mind, let’s look at the history of early bicycles and the developments that led up to the modern bicycle.

Bicycle History in Debate

Up until a few years ago, most historians felt that Pierre and Ernest Michaux, the French father and son team of carriage-makers, invented the first bicycle during the 1860s. Historians now disagree since there is evidence that the bicycle and bicycle like vehicles are older than that. Historians do agree that Ernest Michaux did invent a bicycle with pedal and rotary cranks in 1861. However, they disagree if Michaux made the very first bike with pedals.

Another fallacy in bicycle history is that Leonardo DaVinci sketched a design for a very modern looking bicycle in 1490. This has been proven to be untrue.

The Celerifere

The celerifere was an early bicycle precursor invented in 1790 by Frenchmen Comte Mede de Sivrac. It had no steering and no pedals but the celerifere did at least look somewhat like a bicycle. However, it had four wheels instead of two, and a seat. A rider would power forward by using their feet for a walking/running push-off and then glide on the celerifere.

The Steerable Laufmaschine

German Baron Karl Drais von Sauerbronn invented an improved two-wheel version of the celerifere, called the laufmaschine, a German word for “running machine.” The steerable laufmaschine was made entirely of wood and had no pedals. Hence, a rider would need to push his or her feet against the ground to make the machine go forward. Drais’ vehicle was first exhibited in Paris on April 6, 1818.

Velocipede

The laufmaschine was renamed the velocipede (Latin for fast foot) by French photographer and inventor Nicephore Niepce and soon became the popular name for all the bicycle-like inventions of the 1800s. Today, the term is used mainly to describe the various forerunners of the monowheel, the unicycle, the bicycle, the dicycle, the tricycle and the quadracycle developed between 1817 and 1880.

Mechanically Propelled

In 1839, Scottish inventor Kirkpatrick Macmillan devised a system of driving levers and pedals for velocipedes that allowed the rider to propel the machine with feet lifted off the ground. However, historians are now debating if Macmillan actually did invent the first pedaled velocipede, or whether it was just propaganda by British writers to discredit the following French version of events.

The first really popular and commercially successful velocipede design was invented by French blacksmith, Ernest Michaux in 1863. A simpler and more elegant solution than the Macmillan bicycle, Michaux’s design included rotary cranks and pedals mounted to the front wheel hub. In 1868, Michaux founded Michaux et Cie (Michaux and company), the first company to manufacture velocipedes with pedals commercially. 

Penny Farthing

The Penny Farthing is also referred to as

Mar
29

automotive industry | History, Developments, & Facts

Although steam-powered road vehicles were produced earlier, the origins of the automotive industry are rooted in the development of the gasoline engine in the 1860s and ’70s, principally in France and Germany. By the beginning of the 20th century, German and French manufacturers had been joined by British, Italian, and American makers.

Developments before World War I

Most early automobile companies were small shops, hundreds of which each produced a few handmade cars, and nearly all of which abandoned the business soon after going into it. The handful that survived into the era of large-scale production had certain characteristics in common. First, they fell into one of three well-defined categories: they were makers of bicycles, such as Opel in Germany and Morris in Great Britain; builders of horse-drawn vehicles, such as Durant and Studebaker in the United States; or, most frequently, machinery manufacturers. The kinds of machinery included stationary gas engines (Daimler of Germany, Lanchester of Britain, Olds of the United States), marine engines (Vauxhall of Britain), machine tools (Leland of the United States), sheep-shearing machinery (Wolseley of Britain), washing machines (Peerless of the United States), sewing machines (White of the United States), and woodworking and milling machinery (Panhard and Levassor of France). One American company, Pierce, made birdcages, and another, Buick, made plumbing fixtures, including the first enameled cast-iron bathtub. Two notable exceptions to the general pattern were Rolls-Royce in Britain and Ford in the United States, both of which were founded as carmakers by partners who combined engineering talent and business skill.

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In the United States almost all of the producers were assemblers who put together components and parts that were manufactured by separate firms. The assembly technique also lent itself to an advantageous method of financing. It was possible to begin building motor vehicles with a minimal investment of capital by buying parts on credit and selling the finished cars for cash; the cash sale from manufacturer to dealer has been integral in the marketing of motor vehicles in the United States ever since. European automotive firms of this period tended to be more self-sufficient.

The pioneer automobile manufacturer not only had to solve the technical and financial problems of getting into production but also had to make a basic decision about what to produce. After the first success of the gasoline engine, there was widespread experimentation with steam and electricity. For a brief period the electric automobile actually enjoyed the greatest acceptance because it was quiet and easy to operate, but the limitations imposed by battery capacity proved competitively fatal. Especially popular with women, electric cars remained in limited production well into the 1920s. One of the longest-surviving makers, Detroit Electric Car Company, operated on a regular basis through 1929.

Steam power, a more serious rival, was aided by the general adoption, after 1900, of the so-called flash boiler, in which steam could be raised rapidly. The steam car

Mar
29

Automobile History – HISTORY

Contents

  1. When Were Cars Invented?
  2. Henry Ford and William Durant
  3. Model T
  4. Automotive Industry Growing Pains
  5. Car Sales Stall
  6. GM Introduces ‘Planned Obsolescence’
  7. World War II and the Auto Industry
  8. Rise of Japanese Automakers
  9. U.S. Carmakers Retool
  10. Legacy of the U.S. Auto Industry

The automobile was first invented and perfected in Germany and France in the late 1800s, though Americans quickly came to dominate the automotive industry in the first half of the twentieth century. Henry Ford innovated mass-production techniques that became standard, and Ford, General Motors and Chrysler emerged as the “Big Three” auto companies by the 1920s. Manufacturers funneled their resources to the military during World War II, and afterward automobile production in Europe and Japan soared to meet growing demand. Once vital to the expansion of American urban centers, the industry had become a shared global enterprise with the rise of Japan as the leading automaker by 1980.

Although the automobile was to have its greatest social and economic impact in the United States, it was initially perfected in Germany and France toward the end of the nineteenth century by such men as Gottlieb Daimler, Karl Benz, Nicolaus Otto and Emile Levassor.

When Were Cars Invented?

The 1901 Mercedes, designed by Wilhelm Maybach for Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, deserves credit for being the first modern motorcar in all essentials.

Its thirty-five-horsepower engine weighed only fourteen pounds per horsepower, and it achieved a top speed of fifty-three miles per hour. By 1909, with the most integrated automobile factory in Europe, Daimler employed some seventeen hundred workers to produce fewer than a thousand cars per year.

Nothing illustrates the superiority of European design better than the sharp contrast between this first Mercedes model and Ransom E. Olds‘ 1901-1906 one-cylinder, three-horsepower, tiller-steered, curved-dash Oldsmobile, which was merely a motorized horse buggy. But the Olds sold for only $650, putting it within reach of middle-class Americans, and the 1904 Olds output of 5,508 units surpassed any car production previously accomplished.

The central problem of automotive technology over the first decade of the twentieth century would be reconciling the advanced design of the 1901 Mercedes with the moderate price and low operating expenses of the Olds. This would be overwhelmingly an American achievement.

Henry Ford and William Durant

Bicycle mechanics J. Frank and Charles Duryea of Springfield, Massachusetts, had designed the first successful American gasoline automobile in 1893, then won the first American car race in 1895, and went on to make the first sale of an American-made gasoline car the next year.

Thirty American manufacturers produced 2,500 motor vehicles in 1899, and some 485 companies entered the business in the next decade. In 1908 Henry Ford introduced the Model T and William Durant founded General Motors.

The new firms operated in an unprecedented seller’s market for an expensive consumer goods item. With its vast land area and a hinterland of scattered and isolated settlements, the United States had a far greater need for automotive transportation than the nations of Europe. Great demand