History of Cars Written by your guide: A multi-part
feature on the history of automobiles starting with the first steam, electrical,
and gasoline-engine cars. Learn the controversy behind discovering who
was really first in car history and understand the importance of the internal
combustion engine. The lives of many famous automotive makers are explored
in detail with special pages on the assembly line, the origins of the name
automobile, the patent disputes, and more. After reading this article try
our fun automobile
trivia quiz to test your knowledge.Famous
August Otto Nicolaus August Otto invented the
gas motor engine in 1876.
Daimler In 1885, Gottlieb
Daimler invented a gas engine that allowed for a revolution in car design.
Benz (Carl Benz) Karl Benz was the German mechanical
engineer who designed and in 1885 built the world's first practical automobile
to be powered by an internal-combustion engine.
Lambert America's first gasoline-powered
automobile was the 1891 Lambert car invented by John W. Lambert.
Brothers They founded America's first company
to manufacture and sell gasoline-powered vehicles.
Ford Henry Ford improved the assembly
line for automobile manufacturing (Model-T), invented a transmission mechanism,
and popularized the gas-powered automobile.
Diesel Rudolf Diesel invented the diesel-fueled
internal combustion engine.
Franklin Kettering Charles Franklin Kettering invented
the first automobile electrical ignition system and the first practical
The history of the automobile that
covers over one hundred years of technology.
In 1901, British inventor Frederick William Lanchester patented disc brakes.
Radio In 1929, American Paul Galvin, the head of Galvin Manufacturing
Corporation, invented the first car radio. The first car radios were not
available from carmakers. Consumers had to purchase the radios separately.
Galvin coined the name "Motorola" for the company's new products combining
the idea of motion and radio. (early
On April 25, 1901 the state of New York became the first state to require
car license plates by law. The very first license plates were called number
plates - first issued in 1893 in France by the police.
Ferdinand Porsche invented the first supercharged Mercedes-Benz SS &
SSK sports cars in Stuttgart, Germany in 1923.
Third Brake Light In
1974, psychologist John Voevodsky invented the third brake light, a brake light
that is mounted in the base of rear windshields. When drivers press their
brakes, a triangle of light will warn following drivers to slow down.
1832, W. H. James invented a rudimentary three-speed transmission. Panhard
and Levassor are credited with the invention of the modern transmission
- installed in their 1895 Panhard. On April 28, 1908, Leonard Dyer obtained one
of the earliest patents for an automobile transmission.
Buick introduced the first electric turn signals in 1938.
Francis W. Davis invented power steering. In the 1920s, Davis was the chief
engineer of the truck division of the Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company, and
he saw first hand how hard it was to steer heavy vehicles. Davis quit his
job and rented a small engineering shop in Waltham, MA. He developed a
hydraulic power steering system that led to power steering. Power steering
became commercially available by 1951.