The history of the automobile (car) is quite rich as its origins dates back to the 15th century. It was Leonardo da Vinci, whose sketches and creative designs have proven that he was working on transport vehicles. Over the 100 years, there have been various types of automobiles; electric, steam, and gasoline. The design language has also changed a lot since the inception of the first. However, the main motive remains the same i.e. mobility.
A Short History of Cars
What did people use before cars?
Transportation was very important for traders. For this, people have been using horses, camels and elephants to travel from one place to another for centuries. To make the transport more sophisticated people built fancy carriages which added more luxury to the traditional transportation. Later, the horse carriage also supported suspension to make the ride quality much better and less bumpy. However, the people still needed to be dependent upon the animal. Horses were inefficient and couldn’t work for a long period of time. People needed something more reliable and efficient. In other words, they need machines to replace the animals.
It was Karl Benz who had patented a three-wheeled vehicle in 1886. His vehicle was known as the “Motorwagen”. This vehicle was the first modern automobile which shaped the upcoming motor industry. Later, Benz also patented various fundamentals of automobiles like spark plugs, gear shifters, throttle system, a carburettor etc. His patented vehicle was very similar to modern-day motorcars as it also used a gasoline powered internal combustion engine. This was only possible when opened a small Mannheim workshop and built his three-wheeled single cylinder vehicle. Later, Benz officially introduced his new invention to the public on July 3, 1886.
Henry Ford & Model T
By 1910 the cars were spreading slowly across the world. However, the costs would remain exorbitantly overpriced. No ordinary man could even imagine buying one. Henry Ford’s visionary Model T was the answer to this problem. It was the first car to be manufactured in an assembly-line which made it more affordable for the commoners of America. Within a few years, more than 15 million Model T’s were manufactured in Detroit and Highland Park. This success even travelled overseas to Manchester, England where the car was assembled for the European market. Model T was manufactured from 1908 to 1927. The vehicle was reliable, practical, affordable, and easy to maintain. This iconic car was offered with various body styling mounted on the same 100-inch wheelbase chassis. People could buy a model T with a five-seat touring car, a two-seater car and a seven-seater town car. The car came with a four-cylinder engine that produced 20 horsepower which was sufficient to give a top speed of 40-45 miles per hour. The Ford model T has truly shaped the mass production of cars before the Model T cars were merely luxury item. Whereas, now they are considered to have multiple utilities. That’s why we have more vehicle types these days.
"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance;
it is the illusion of knowledge."-Daniel J. Boorstin