The car has changed life. Its invention spawned suburbs, relieved city congestion, provided jobs for the the educated and uneducated, contributed to airborne pollution, and killed millions in road accidents. This is the story of the car.
A vehicle is anything used for carry people or things. Natural vehicles might be floating tree logs, and floating ice. Cars and trucks are man-made, wheeled vehicles that are self-propelled by their engines (motors) to move on land. Motorcycles are 2-wheeled, self-propelled land vehicles. Other types of man-made vehicles are air and water vehicles, often referred to as "crafts", viz., aircraft, watercraft, spacecraft. They include boats, ships, gliders, airplanes, dirigibles, and balloons, sailboats. Bicycles, tricycles, skis, ice skates, and roller skates are examples of vehicles with no engines that are powered by the muscle power of their users or gravity or wind. Wagons and carts powered by animals and people are also vehicles. A locomotive is a vehicle that runs on railroad tracks.
A car (motor car, automobile, auto) has 4 wheels and is used primarily to transport people over a road. A truck (automotive truck) has 4 to 8 wheels and is used primarily to transport freight over a road, although there are large "offroad" trucks that operate at mines, quarries, and construction sites. There are many kinds of motor vehicles used for special work, e.g., limousines, buses, farm and trailer tractors, military trucks and tanks, fire engines, motor homes, fork-lifts, and many more.
In 1765, the Frenchman, Nicholas Cugnot, produces the first motor vehicle, a tractor powered by a steam engine. It was intended to pull artillery, but was not successful. Matteucci 8 This vehicle is important because it started many inventors to think about building land vehicles.
In 1802, the Englishman, Richard Trevithick, builds the first steam-powered vehicle for passenger transport. it could go 10 mph on the level and 3 mph up a hill. and towed carriages. Today, we call this type of vehicle a bus. Matteucci 16
On July 13, 1805, the American, Oliver Evans, demonstrates the first amphibious vehicle called the Orukter Amphibolus in and around Philadelphia and on the Delaware River. It is built as a huge steam-powered river dredger and runs on land at 3 to 4 mph. AQ 21
François Isaac de Rivaz, a Swiss inventor, designed the first internal combustion engine in 1806, which was fueled by a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen and used it to develop the world's first vehicle to run on this engine in 1807, although its design was troublesome. Wiki n.p.
About 1826, Samuel Brown designs an IC engine that uses hydrogen as a fuel. It has a separate combustion and working cylinders, and is cooled by water contained in a cylinder lining and circulated around the cylinders. The water is cooled by pumping it so that it is in contact with the outside air. The engine has a capacity of 8,800 cc and is rated at 4 hp. He tests the engine by using it to propel a vehicle up Shooter's Hill on 27 May 1826. The engine was also employed to pump water and to propel river boats. Brown formed a company to produce engines for boats and barges, one of which is said to have achieved a speed of 8 mph upstream, although the company was unsuccessful. Wiki n.p.
Natural rubber made into clothing and footwear is impervious to water and water rotting. Its resiliency makes it conformable to shapes and in bulk it acts as a cussion. However, rubber becomes too soft in hot weather and too hard and brittle in cold weather, so it was not very useful. It was not until 1839, when the American inventor, Charles Goodyear, inadvertently discovered that adding sulfur to rubber allowed it to remain flexible at high and low temperatures. He called the mixture vulcanized rubber. This form of rubber became highly useful for many kinds of products, including car and truck tires. Asimov 340
Thomas Hancock uses solid rubber tires on cars for the first time in 1846. Laban 10Britannica n.p.
In 1863, Nicolaus Otto invents the world's first atmospheric internal combustion engine. It was a stationary engine to be used in industries, not a mobile one used in cars and trucks; that would come later. He forms the company called N. A. Otto & Cie on March 31, 1864 with Eugen Langen who raises the capital. An improved model is produced in 1867. Grosser 31-32In 1864 Nikolaus Otto and Eugen Langen founds an engine manufacturing business in Cologne called “N.A. Otto & Cie.” Later it will be called Deutz-AG-Gasmotorenfabrik as investors provide Otto and Langen with financing. (This company exists today as “Deutz AG”, the world's oldest engine manufacturers.) The company builds successful gas engines. Gottlieb Daimler will join them in 1872. Wiki n.p.
In January, 1872, the Otto company will be reorganized as Gasmotoren-Fabrik Deutz AG with more investors. Otto is Technical Director, not a shareholder. Gottlieb Daimler is hired as production manager a few months later who brought with him a young engineer named Wilhelm Maybach. Otto, Daimler and Maybach are arguably the 3 greatest IC engine designers in history. Grosser 33
In May, 1876, Nicolaus Otto invents the world's first 4-stroke compression internal combustion engine that will be patented in 1879. The test engine was handed over to engineer Wilhelm Maybach to become the Deutz "A" engine in production. It weights 75% less than his atmospheric engine at the same rating with 1/15th the piston displacement. Thermal efficiency was 16.7% and compression ratio was 1.5 to 1. This engine begins the Diesel Age. Grosser 36
Motivated by the Otto patent on the 4-cycle engine, inventors began work on a 2-stroke engine to avoid the Otto patent. In 1878, the Scot, Dugald Clerk, received a patent in 1878 for a 2-cycle compression engine that was demonstrated at Kilburn, England in 1879. Grosser 37
In 1879, Karl Benz builds a 2-stroke, 1-cylinder IC engine. It eliminated the auxiliary charging unit of the Clerk engine. Grosser 38
In 1881, the Frenchman, Charles Jeantaud, with help from Camille Faure, inventor of the pasted plate battery, builds an electric vehicle. The car is made from a Tilbury style buggy with a Gramme motor and the Fulmen battery. Over the next 12 years he continues to modify this same platform, installing a British motor in 1887. He used a Swiss motor with a tubular plate battery built by Tonate Thommasi in 1893. Cousens n.p.
In 1882 Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach leave Deutz-AG-Gasmotorenfabrik. designed and built a motorcycle with an engine of the Otto-cycle type that they patent. In 1886 they place a stationary engine into a stagecoach as an experiment and in 1889 design and build their first experimental automobile. Wiki n.p.
In 1882, W. Ayrton & J. Perry of England build an electric tricycle with electric lights. Cousens n.p.
In October, 1883, Karl Benz forms the Benz and Cie in Mannheim, Germany to manufacture his 2-stroke engine.
The automobile industry began with the first commercially available Motorwagen Model 3 designed by Karl Benz, a German who is credited with the invention of the automobile in 1885 and patented in 1886. His company was the Benz & Company Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik, usually called Benz & Cie. Many of his cars were built and sold in France by Messr. Roger because the Parisians were more eager buyers than those elsewhere. Wiki n.p.
The Otto Cycle engine patent is invalidated on January 30 1886 when it is discovered that another inventor, Alphonse Beau de Rochas, had already described the 4-stroke principle in a French patent of January 16, 1862. This court case will be publicized around the world, thus liberating inventors and manufacturers to seek their fortunes. Grosser 38
In 1886, the American, N. S. Possons, builds an electric tricycle for the Brush Electric Co. of Cleveland, OH. It has an electric headlight and features the Brush Co.'s rechargeable battery. Cousens n.p.
Siegried Marcus in 1875 invents the world's first motor car using a 4-stroke gas engine. It could run at 4 mph, but did not lead to any commercial production. Matteucci 26
In 1888, the Scotsman, John Dunlop, patents the peumatic tire, which wa a rubber tube put around the wheel rim. Matteucci 18
Daimler and Maybach, still unincorporated, introduce their 4-stroke Otto Standuhr automobile engine at the 1889 Paris Exposition. It will become the engine of choice in the pioneer French cars. Grosser 41
In 1890, Daimler and Maybach establish Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (Daimler Engines Company, DMG) to build small, high speed gas engines. Wiki n.p.
In 1890, the American, William Morrison, builds the first US 4-wheeled electric vehicle, in Des Moines IA, to demonstrate his lead battery. Cousens n.p.
Diesel receives a 15-year patent for his 4-stroke compression stationary engine, a developmental model, on February 28, 1892. Grosser 43
Benz introduces the 4-wheel Victoria in 1893. Grosser 41
On February 21, 1893, Diesel signs a contract to develop and build his stationary engine with Machinenfabrik Augsburg. He receives a US patent for his engine on July 16, 1895. Grosser 46,56
In 1893, Charles and Frank Duryea build their first car, which is powered by a 1-cylinder gasoline engine. Matteucci 42
In 1893, the World's Colombian Exposition opens in Chicago introducing the age of electricity. Morrison's car is there, leading to the proliferation of electric cars in the late 1890's and early 1900's. Cousens n.p.
In 1894, Vacheron invents the steering wheel. Grosser 95 (Until this time, only tillers were used to direct the car.)
In 1895, Michelin invents the pneumatic tire. Grosser 95 (Until this time, only hard rubber tires were used.)
In 1896, Charles and Frank Duryea produce the first American commercial car. Laban 28
On December 31, 1896, Diesel runs his newest stationary engine for the first time. It burns cheap kerosene instead of expensive coal gas used for illumination. It is tested in early January, 1897 for independent tester and found to be the most efficient engine in the world at 26.2%. Manufacturers line up for licenses. Grosser 56-58
In 1897, Gräf and Stift invent the front-wheel drive. Grosser 95
Diesel sells his first stationary engine in January, 1898 to a match manufacturer, Aktiengesellschaft. Two companies combine to build Diesel engines under the name, Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg, AG (M.A.N.) on December 17, 1898. It buys the engine from Diesel for cash and stock certificates. Diesel is a rich man.Grosser 64,66 (But he will lose it all by his profligate living.)
In 1899, Daimler invents the honeycomb radiator, gate gearshift, and the foot accelerator. Grosser 95
In 1899, Renault invents the shaft drive with universal joints and the live-sprung rear axle. Grosser 95
In 1902, Lanchester invents disk brakes. Grosser 95
In 1902, Bolleé invents fuel injection. Grosser 95
In 1903, Rumpler and Adler invent independent rear axle suspension. Grosser 95
In 1903, Adler invents the V8 engine. Grosser 95
In 1903, Maudsley invents the overhead camshaft engine. Grosser 95
In 1903, Mors invents shock absorbers. Grosser 95
The first ship to use Diesel engines is the Vandalia, built in 1904 on the Volga River in Russia. Grosser 72
In 1904, Sturtevant invents the automatic transmission. Grosser 95
In 1908, Delco invents coil & distributor ignition. Grosser 95
In 1909, Christie invents the transverse engine. Grosser 95
In 1909, Triplex invents safety glass. Grosser 95
Prosper L'Orange of the Benz company invents the diesel engine precombustion chamber, which is patented in 1909. Grosser 75
In 1911, Kettering of General Motors invents the electric starter and electric lights. Grosser 95
In 1911, Isotta-Fraschini invents four-wheel servo-assisted brakes. Grosser 95
In 1912, Oakland and Hupmobile invent the all-steel body. Grosser 95
In 1912, Peugeot invents the double-overhead camshaft engine. Grosser 95
In 1919, Prosper L'Orange patents the diesel direct injection engine using the purchased rights of a similar design by the Swede, Jonas Hesselman, chief engineer of AB Diesels Motoren of Stockholm. Grosser 97
In 1920, Benz produces the first commercial diesel engine that works without a compressor. He also offers motorized diesel plows in that same year. Grosser 97
In 1923, Daimler offers a diesel-powered bus, truck and dumper, although their engines still use an air compressor. Grosser 97
In 1924, Benz produces the first commercial diesel engine truck. Grosser 97
Diesel engines were first used in small boats in 1929. How 704
In the 1950s, turbocharging was first used on diesel engines. How 704Crouse 19 In 1966, Congress passes the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. It requires that all new motor vehicles sold in the U.S. comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). Safety falls into these categories: (1) Crash avoidance such as high-mounted rear stoplights. (2) Occupant protection such as padded dashboards and locking seat backs; and (3) Post-crash protection such as roll bars and air bags. Crouse 19
In response to the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74, in 1975 Congress passes the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975. It includes the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which requires car and light truck makers to make clean-burning engines and equip them with engines that gasoline efficiently. Different models with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 lbs. or less, manufactured for sale in the United States for any given model year made by one manufacturer are tested for number of miles per gallon of gasoline to arrive at a corporate average weighted by sales revenues. Fines are levied on companies that exceed CAFE standards. Since 1975 the standards have become more strict. Crouse 19In 1978, Congress passes the Energy Tax Law, which places a "gas guzzler tax" on cars that do not meet the minimum EPA standards. Crouse 19