The Automobile: Its First 100 Years – Wheels TV

We harnessed the power of steam and began to replace animals with engines, but it was not until the development of the internal combustion engine and the discovery of tools of oil deep in the earth that we were able to achieve a basic improvement in individual transport.

In 1886, two vehicles were unveiled only months apart by German engineers, Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler. The automobile was born. Gottlieb daimler was the first to see a wide variety of uses for the gasoline burning internal combustion engine.

He tried it first in a motorcycle and when that was a success, he was ready to install his engine in a carriage. At the same time, Karl Benz working only 60 miles away was developing his own vehicle, but while Daimler was installing his engine in a carriage Benz was creating the world’s first automobile from scratch.

It was successfully driven in late 1885 and patented. On January 29th, 1886, which is the birth date of the automobile Daimler’s. Vehicle made its appearance a few months later, production spread from Germany to France, Italy and England, and to help establish the practicality of the automobile races were held over the roads of the continent.

These roads have been used for many hundreds of years and were in relatively good condition, certainly much better than those in North America. The races attracted great numbers of spectators, anxious to get their first look at the vehicles.

That would change their lives, but the automobile in Europe was still to a great extent, a plaything for the wealthy and would continue to be so until well into the 20th century. In the meantime, the automobile was taking quite a different Road in the United States, where the introduction of the car came about through an 1888 agreement between Daimler and piano manufacturer, William Steinway.

But it was Charles Duryea, an Illinois bicycle manufacturer who built the first American automobile. It made its appearance on September 20th, 1893. Two years later, he and his brother Frank, established the first American company to manufacture automobiles.

In 1896, a rather primitive vehicle appeared one of the hundreds of home-built cars of the time. This one was made by an obscure Detroit electric company engineer named Henry Ford. Another of the many experimenting with cars was ransom olds, a Michigan engine manufacturer who understood the potential of the automobile when a fire destroyed his Detroit Factory in 1901.

The only vehicle to survive was a curved model by using it as a prototype, and subcontracting work to local shops olds was able to produce 425 cars that year, a car designed not for the wealthy, but for everyone.

The curve Oldsmobile was a light. Sturdy, economical vehicle adapted to the harsh American road condition. Oles also realized that producing a car was only half the battle. It was just as important to publicize it, which he did successfully one problem common to everyone.

Building cars at the turn of the century was the Selden patent. George B Selden was a patent attorney who actually invented nothing, but in 1895 he was awarded a patent on all gasoline-powered vehicles.

As a result, the manufacture and sale of any automobile without paying royalties to Selden was illegal, but if the Selden monopoly cut into the profits of manufacturers, it did not seem to dampen their enthusiasm as more and more cars were built.

Everyone was anxious to prove the worth of his vehicle and its ability to endure the rigors of long distance travelled in 1901. Roy Chapin covered the 820 miles from Detroit to New York in eight days.

Two years later, the first transcontinental trip was completed in 64 days. These and many other endurance runs provided millions with their first glimpse of an automobile, spurred on by these long-distance feats.

Car owners were attracted to the idea of the auto tour and they set off in groups to explore the country. The first race held in the United States took place in Chicago in 1895 and racing continued to be an integral part of the automotive scene.

The excitement of competition helped promote the car and gave many the urge to get behind the wheel themselves. A major change, however, did take place and racing as closed sources began to replace public roads and point-to-point races.

Spectators were now able to watch an event from beginning to end. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened on August 19, 1909 and 99, so the birth of an American sporting institution as the first Indianapolis 500 was run in 1911.

Henry Ford won a final court victory over the Selden monopoly and could turn his full attention to building the car that would alter the face of the nation. The Model T more than 15 million were built between 1908 and 1926 to keep up with demand Ford refined.

The idea of the assembly line and the company was soon turning out cars at the rate of 1000 a day by 1926, 2/3 of all cars on the road were Model T’s. It was truly a car for all the people. The Model T also found a place in the movies that were then capturing the public’s imagination.

The two industries had been developed at about the same time and seemed to share a common appeal. Hollywood was quick to discover the thrill of the chase as the automobile became an important part of the screens comedy antics.

You even racing driver. Barney Oldfield became a film hero for a brief moment as he and Max Senate race to the rescue of a damsel in distress. The automobile, as we know it today, was beginning to take shape hand cranking had been eliminated in 1912, with the introduction of the electric starter heaters and windshield wipers became standard equipment and the closed car was replacing open models.

As the 1920s began, the population in the United States edged past 100 million and there were eight million cars wending their way through urban traffic jams. Ford was still the leading manufacturer, but General Motors was providing strong competition.

General Motors came into being in 1908. As a result of the vision of Billy Durant, one of the more colorful figures in automotive history, Durant’s, dream was of an empire that would produce not a single Universal car, as in Ford’s case, but a variety of cars.

One as he would say, for every purse and purpose beginning with his own Buick Company Durant, acquired Oldsmobile, then Cadillac and a dozen other car and truck builders, but great promoter that he was Durant, was an inconsistent businessman and was soon forced out of his financially troubled Company an equally unsuccessful second tenure at GM ended for Durant.

As the DuPont interest stepped in to bailout, the company management was turned over to Alfred P Sloan, whose business talents brought General Motors to the top of the industry. Walter Chrysler had left the Buick Division of General Motors in 1919.

He admired Sloane’s, organizational genius and became convinced. The General Motors approach was the right. One Chrysler unveiled his own car in 1924 and with the acquisition of Dodge in 1928, was able to offer the range of cars he felt to be necessary if a company was to survive the changing tastes of the buyer.

The last of the major American companies was in place as the decade rolled on cars were improving as where the bad road conditions still found in many parts of the country. The federal government made one of its goals: the establishment of a nationwide system of highways and throughout the country, construction crews turned dirt roads into gravel asphalt or concrete ribbon.

Oh buns were also made available for the completion of the Lincoln Highway and the country’s. First, transcontinental route wound its way 3,400 miles from coast to coast, as the number of paved roads increased.

More and more people traveled by car by 1929, 45 million persons a year were using the automobile to vacation and the demand for roadside restaurants and overnight accommodations grew accordingly and the number of service stations increased tenfold during the twenties to over 120,000.

No, where was the impact of the automobile as dramatic as in Los Angeles, the city built around the car, as thousands upon thousands of people poured into this land of sunshine and seeming abundance. The automobile allowed the city to decentralize, a car culture was spawned.

That would be imitated throughout the country in the decades ahead, even as the automobile was establishing itself as an indispensable part of everyday life. It was also a symbol of affluence. American luxury cars competed with European imports for the attention of the upper class fire.

The 1930s. However, would be remembered not for the occasional signs of opulence, but for the depression that gripped the country as dust choked the midsection of our land, the automobile provided a means of escape.

Thousands of families piled the few belongings that would fit into their cars or trucks and headed west to a new life in the 30s car is outnumbered. Both telephones and bathtubs in the United States leading humorist Will Rogers to observe, but we are the first nation in the history of the world to go to the poorhouse in an automobile.

In spite of the depression, the 1930s also saw the mileage of paved roads more than double and bridges and tunnels were the engineering marvels of the time people watched as the George Washington Bridge span, New York’s.

Hudson River and became the world’s, longest suspension bridge. It would be followed by other, equally imposing structures. The decade came to a close on a high note. With the opening of the 1939 World’s.

Fair, the automobile industry was well represented at the fair, as it showed off the advances cars had made in the 30s, all steel bodies for added durability and safety, automatic transmissions for ease of driving, radios and air-conditioning to increase comfort, the fair showed millions.

What wonders awaited them, but the hopes and the dreams would have to wait, but for what the future held was war with the conflict already sweeping across Europe, we prepared for our inevitable involvement when we did enter the conflict.

Automobile production ceased entirely as materials of war flowed off our assembly lines for the duration. Automakers alone would account for one-fifth of America’s, total military output. When the troops came home, they were eager to find for themselves and their families.

A piece of the American dream for which they had fought among the returning serviceman was William Levitt, who had ideas about how to improve our standard of living. He would use an assembly line approach to mass produce, affordable housing, as workers moved from house to house each with an assigned task to perform large tracts of suburban land were transformed into row upon row of neat little houses.

A whole new way of life was introduced as entire towns and communities emerged, with shopping centers to take care of the new suburban eyes. Central to this new lifestyle was the automobile. Without it, the exodus from city the suburb could not have occurred as Detroit returned to the business of producing cars, it found the market filled with old cars and hungry customers.

Automobiles were sold as fast as they could be made from only 83,000 cars produced in 1945. The numbers soared to more than six and a half million in 1950. The automobile had appealed to the young of every generation, and so it was in the 50s as they personalize their cars, haunted drive-ins and drag raced at the drop of a hat Racing of all kinds enjoyed popularity from the Indianapolis 500 events at local tracks, stock-car racing, Especially underwent spectacular growth during this period as large clouds were drawn to track such as this one in Atlanta, but power was not the only thing that attracted buyers.

Manufacturers turned to radical styling changes, chrome and gadget ori, the wind their share of the market. It was a far cry from the basic black one model approach of Henry Ford, but a natural enough progression in the stylistic evolution of the automobile in the decade.

Since the nineteen twenties, the 1950s also saw the beginning of the interstate highway system. The largest single public works project in the history of man. Now, three decades later, the system’s. 42,500 miles is virtually complete at a cost of over 100 billion dollars.

The impact of the interstate highway network has been enormous as arteries reached into every corner of the nation. Trucks replaced trains as the primary carrier of our goods. Cities were bypassed and where highways met, new community sprang up roadside services proliferated and at highway entrances and exits.

Businesses took route as the 50s gave way to the 60s supply caught up with demand, sensibility and practicality returned to styling and auto companies began turning out a wider variety of cars in an effort to meet the needs of a new phenomenon: the multi car family, another Automotive development took place in the 50s that would have an enormous impact.

The few car is imported from Europe were solidly engineered luxury cars. Now, among these few imports was an odd-looking car from Germany, a car that didn’t even have its engine where it was supposed to be.

At the beginning. The Volkswagen didn’t make much of an impression. In fact, it is said that when the first beetle arrived in the United States in January of 1949, a few customs officials had to be convinced that it was a car.

Only two were sold at first-year. The company successfully urged consumers to think small and starting in the mid-50s Volkswagen sales increased dramatically early beetle owners enjoyed a camaraderie honking, their horns in greeting as they passed each other by the late 1960s.

More than 400,000 beetles a year were being sold in the United States and in 1972 the beetle broke the record held by the Model T as the world’s most produced gosh. Detroit took heed of the first real threat to its continued dominance.

By moving belatedly and somewhat reluctantly into the production of economical compact cars, but the problems faced by American manufacturers continued to mount in the 1960s critics led by Ralph Nader attacked the safety of automobiles, as well as their negative impact on our environment.

They took their causes to Congress. Looking for government intervention and regulation in 1973, a gasoline shortage hit the country dealing Detroit another blow. As consumers waited on service station lines, they were forced to realize the automobile was using up the world’s.

Oil resources at an alarming rate, some turned to the economy offered by diesel cars manufactured in Europe, where this technology had long been utilized but foremost, economy minded car buyers. The answer was to be found in Japanese imports.

These cars increased American awareness of the quality workmanship than many of the foreign products and further erode it. Detroit’s preeminence. How serious was the effect of overseas production on the American industry? In 1960, imports accounted for seven and a half percent of the car is sold in the United States in 1970.

Their market share was fifteen percent, and by 1980 it was twenty seven percent. Over two million imported cars, most of them from Japan, are sold in the United States every year. And what can we look for in the automobiles second century? Has the revolution in individual transport begun by Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler reached its ultimate point? Not at all, there are many questions to be answered.

Many goals yet to be reached. Manufacturers around the world are utilizing computerization to improve engineering and design micro processors keep cars within the bounds of fuel economy and Domitian standards, while monitoring and controlling engine operation under all kinds of driving conditions.

After centuries of trying after 100 years of the automobile, we continue to seek still better safer ways to get from place to place. You

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