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The History Of The Automobile Essay

1974 words - 8 pages

The automobile is an invention that has had a tremendous impact on society. The Stanley Steamer-the most successful steam car was invented in Newton Massachusetts in 1897 by Francis and Freelan Stanley. It wasn’t produced until 1924. The steam car was not a very popular device as it didn’t travel well on long distance trips it was too hard to start and there was a hazard from the open fire. Early on the electric car was the most popular type of automobile. The electric car owes its invention to William Morrison. People liked the electric car more for it was simple to operate, was very quiet and didn’t have any exhaust. Unfortunately for modern society, the electric cars lot its popularity due to the fact that it couldn’t go faster tha 20 miles per hour and the battery had to be charged every 50 miles. The gas powered engine-invented in 1879, by George B. Selden of Rochester, New York- however did not have these restrictions.

The first gasoline powered vehicle was not built until the 1860's, and gasoline automobiles were not commercially produced until the late 1890s. Selden did not receive his patent for the internal combustion engine until 1895, and it was this patent that had a profound revolutionary effect on the up and coming automobile industry.

Charles and J. Frank Duryea were the most notable of the pioneers of the gasoline automobile. The Duryea Motor Company produced the first gas powered car in 1893 - 1894. In 1896, they produced thirteen identical cars, the beginning of mass automobile production in the United States. Only one of these cars remains today, in the Smithsonian institution. Autos in Europe were touted as being superior to the American car. A slightly different model of the Duryea won a road race in England proving that American automobile development was on a par with European efforts.

The work of Henry Ford, Elwood Haynes, Stephen Balzer, Charles Brady King, and Ransom Olds in experimenting with gasoline engines, was beginning to change the perception of the car by the American people. They built many test automobiles during the 1890's. The invention of the carburetor and the muffler-both by Haynes-was a big push in the automotive industry. He also invented a cobalt metal alloy named Stellite which was important in metal working tools. Ransom Olds developed the first US car to be sold abroad. He founded the Olds Motor Works in Detroit in 1899. He pioneered the development of a light weight, one cylinder, inexpensive car called the "Curved Dash." Many thousands of these cars were sold by 1906. In 1904 Olds left the Olds Motor Works and formed the Reo Motor Company. Many people consider him to be the founder of the American auto industry.

Two developments spurred the growth of the automobile industry in 1901. Gasoline prices were reduced as a result of oil fields discovered in Texas. The supply of gasoline was greatly increased so that automobiles could be operated inexpensively. The other development was the...

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