Brief History Of The Automobile
The automobile is an older concept than most people realize. Models based on internal combustion designs more than 100 years ago are the basis of today's models. A scale model of a steam-powered vehicle was built by a Jesuit priest from China in 17th century China for the Emperor. This is the first record of any attempt to build a wheeled vehicle powered by its own power and not dependent on animals for transport. There were also more designs in the 18th century that used steam power to make small vehicles like tricycles. These designs never became popular.
The First Popular Models
A car that was based on the now-famous internal combustion engine did not appear until 1806. The engine was powered by fuel gas. It may be hard to believe that this idea didn't catch on quickly considering how common cars have become. This design was not popularized in the west until the 19th century. The steam-powered automobile was forgotten completely. Although electric-powered vehicles were first introduced in the early 20th century, they never gained popularity.
Automobiles were seen more as novelty than essential possessions by billions of people and businesses in the latter part of the 19th century. This is when some of the most important names in automotive history began their businesses. Ransom Olds was operating a production line by 1902. Cadillac and Ford were also established at this time.
The technology used to operate automobiles underwent many improvements and changes in the late 19th and early twentieth centuries. Before that, drivers drove cars using tillers. In 1903, the Rambler Company invented the steering wheel. It was positioned on the left-hand side rather than the middle. Single-speed models were the first to be developed. Standard drives and drum brakes were developed during the first decade of the 20th century.
Due to several factors, companies like Olds and Ford started to produce an increasing number of these vehicles. In the years before the First World War, people were more likely to purchase cars due to their prosperity. Because of the assembly line model, car companies could produce more cars and lower the cost. This made it affordable for a wider range of people. Ford, Olds, and other car companies were able to reduce their prices due to increased sales.
Henry Ford is known as the founder of mass production, but other people had already developed the concepts of interchangeable parts and assembly lines. Ford was able to make this idea a science. Ford was producing a car every 15 minutes by 1914 when hostilities in Europe began. His assembly lines made cars so fast that they took longer for the paint to dry, which slowed down sales. Ford used Japan black to paint his Model-Ts, as it dried much faster than any other type of paint.
After the end of the First World War, car designs continued to evolve. There were eight cylinders that could be used in an automobile engine, then there were 12 and 16 more. Malcolm Loughead was the inventor of the hydraulic brake. He would later create Lockheed. Hermann Reseller, a 1920's inventor of the first automatic transmission, would not make it into production until the 1940s.
Post-War Era Cars
Many countries were devastated by the end of World War II. The horse-drawn wagons, which had once driven much of the world’s activity, were abandoned as economies rebuilt. American factories started producing cars instead of tanks. The automobile was the symbol of global prosperity as it became more popular.
Companies based in the United States dominated the first years of the war. However, European countries started to produce their own models and developed them over the years. Japan established an automobile manufacturing industry that was able to compete with western manufacturers. Soon Ford, Cadillac, and Olds were competing against companies like Sweden's Saab and Germany's Volkswagen.
Modern Era Vehicles
Modern times have ended American dominance in car production. This has led to a shift in automobile interests. Car buyers used to be attracted to size and style. Design changes have led to smaller cars and an increase in fuel efficiency. This is in contrast to the earlier electric designs that were abandoned in favor of the internal combustion engine. The automobile industry is full of design innovations as companies seek to develop vehicles that are powered by electricity, hydrogen, and solar power.
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