A Short History of the Car

Although many feel that Henry Ford was the inventor of the modern automobile, its history can be traced back much further. A vehicle that used the power of an internal combustion engine was created by Etienne Lenoir as far back as 1862. Unfortunately, the idea did not catch on and it was not until Gottlieb Daimler partnered with William Steinway (of Steinway and Sons) in 1888 that the first “official” automobile manufacturing company was created. Note that it was not until 1896 that Henry Ford built his first successful car.

Slow and Doubtful

Unfortunately, many vehicles were inefficient and prone to constant breakdowns. Technology progressed at a very slow pace and some even doubted as to whether these strange new “automobiles” would ever actually enjoy success. So, the car remained in obscurity until Henry Ford once again stepped into the picture.

A Break into Modernity

One of the main issues was the extremely slow pace which characterised automobile production. In turn, this caused their prices to be unaffordable to everyone except the extremely affluent. Henry Ford appreciated this fact and thus, the idea of the assembly line was created. Mass production led to interchangeable parts, a quicker build time and most importantly, the average price was drastically reduced. This enabled the car to be affordable to countless millions throughout the United States. Obviously, other companies such as Oldsmobile, Otis and Chevrolet soon followed suit.

Into the Twentieth Century and Beyond

While the Model T and other types were considered revolutionary for their time, these designs were incredibly delicate and it would take the First World War to dramatically improve both the efficiency and the horsepower of car engines. Over time, other changes such as the automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, more powerful drive trains and a multitude of disparate companies would allow the automobile to become a household word.

As we are now in the grips of a new century, we should expect these clever devices to continue to evolve.