The history of automobiles cannot be centered on one individual. It took the efforts of several scientists to assemble a functional automobile by putting together numerous ideas. The first automobile idea was made in 1760 by a Swiss Clergyman, Genevois J.H. who mounted a windmill the cart-like vehicle. He used the power of the windmill on a windy day to rotate the wheel on the road. This idea was later developed into the auto vehicles we have today.
When Automobiles Were Invented
Germany is the cradle of automobiles; this is where the first automobile was invented in 1886. It was later perfected in France. Americans quickly came in and took part in this innovation and dominated the automobile industry for the first half of the 20th century. Henry Ford of Ford General Motors came in with the innovation of mass production whose techniques were considered standard. Ford’s company and Chrysler were one of the big three companies with mass production of automobiles in the 1920s.
Automobile manufacturers spend a lot of their resources during World War II which gave Japan and European Countries room to scale up their production which helped meet the demand. The automobile industry soared high since many countries had room to manufacture making it a global enterprise. Japan grew and became the biggest automobile maker by 1980. Karl Benz, Emile Levassor, and Gottlieb Daimler perfected the car manufacturing industry by bringing in great innovations in Germany and France towards the end of the 19th Century.
With more and more vehicles on the road the world of business became more efficient. The downside however, was that the number of motor vehicle accidents unfortunately increased too. Should you be injured in a motor vehicle crash you ought to contact a lawyer for car accident claim advice and assistance.
What Powered the Engine of the First Cars?
40% of American automobile engines were powered by steam, 38% by electricity and 22% were run by gasoline. However, automobiles run on gasoline were found to be very noisy, unreliable, and could easily develop complications. On the other hand, electric automobiles were silent in operation, had instant self-start, and required minimal maintenance. This played a key role and became an attractive selling point for electric cars of that time.
Gaston Plante’ from France invented the storage battery which was improved by Camille Faure making operating an electric vehicle viable in 1881. By 1882 and 1888 inventors in London and Boston respectively came in and by 1890, a battery-powered automobile was operational which could operate at a speed of 14 miles per hour. The only hurdle in this discovery was the means of charging the battery which was overcome by 1912 when electrical connectivity in some homes made charging possible. In the United States, 20 companies were in automobile production resulting in the registration of over 33000 electric cars by 1912.
Who Contributed to the Development of Gasoline Automobiles?
In 1893, Frank J. and Charles Duryea designed the first gasoline automobile in America which was sold for the first time in 1895. By 1899, 2500 automobiles were produced in America while 485 companies were set up for mass automobile production. In 1908, the Model T automobile was introduced to the market by Henry Ford while William Durant established the first General Motors Company in America. To their advantage, the United States of America had vast land with scattered settlements which provoked the need for automobiles creating a ready market for the manufacturers.
The demand was not as high in Europe which gave America higher leverage for production. In 1908, the Model T automobile was unveiled selling at $825 with a twenty-horsepower, four-cylinder engine. It had a two-speed planetary which made it easier to drive. The chassis was higher making it suitable for rural roads and was made of vanadium steel which made it lighter and tougher on rough roads and those with high bumps. By 1927, 15 million units of these models were produced and sold at a lower price of $290.
The World War II and the Car Industry
Model T was a farm car and so the demand grew to have lighter, faster, and more fuel-efficient cars. During World War II, there developed a need to produce military cars and America could not feed the market on its own together to the scattered production in Europe. This created an opportunity for other countries to explore this market. Japan’s automobile industry grew at this point; in 1980, it was the leading automobile manufacturer to date.
In the 1890s, manufacturing programs and the quality of automobiles grew with sufficient employee motivation. Production plants and retooling were prioritized which was instrumental in the increase in the production of automobiles. The size of cars was reduced, became less pollutant and fuel efficient. Computer-aided designs were embraced, use of skilled engineers improved the quality of manufactured cars. Petroleum products got a ready market with the growth of this industry in the 1920s. Steel products also got a ready market in the automobile industry which grew the economy in many spheres.
Rise of Japanese Automakers
After World War II, engineering was a subordinate function instead of a main function in the automobile industry since it was in the wrong hands at the expense of the economy. This affected production of quality cars such that cars made in America were delivered with many defects. Additionally, Detroit, in particular, used road cruisers which increased pollution r, rates, and the petroleum reservoirs also ran low endangering the operational future of automobiles.
In 1965 federal standards were set on the emission of pollutants, energy consumption, and rising gasoline prices which was not friendly given that the car models of that time were guzzlers. This gave Japanese fuel-efficient, well-built, and functionally designed cars room to sell and rise since this would boost the dwindling world economy. Many countries and individuals settled for Japanese cars than American models which automatically boosted their market for demand for such automobiles was high in the world.
In the 1980s, most American households owned 1-2 cars for domestic use which has gradually become the case in most developed parts of the world. Automobile ownership has now become universal with new forces acting on it every day. There are numerous innovations and technology-led developments like the use of computerized engines, electronic media, Wi-Fi, and robots for self-driven cars among others. The originally known American Automobile Age is now Age of electronics where automobiles are highly digitized.