The Evolution of the Car Dates All the Way Back to the 1600s

It's the "thumb over the garden hose" principle in action: constricted flow accelerates exhaust more quickly into the turbine, improving low-rpm responsiveness and reducing turbo lag. And the torque! You no longer need to shoot down any Messerschmitts to get that shoved-in-your-seat feeling. By the very nature of its design, a rotary engine is lighter, less complex, and higher-revving than a typical box of pistons.

Mazda, however, was the only company that really ran with it—the first Mazda with a rotary was the Cosmo , the forebear of a long line of sports cars, sedans, and even an occasional pickup truck, all the way until the last RX-8 rolled off the line in The RX-Vision concept—unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show—gave credence to a salacious rumor: that a dedicated band of engineers with nothing to lose are still developing the next great rotary engine, somewhere in a Hiroshima skunkworks.

The idea is simple. The less cylinders firing, the better mileage you get. How do you turn a V8 into a four-cylinder? If you were Cadillac circa , you introduced the aptly-named engine, which used electronically-controlled solenoids to close the valves on two or four cylinders.

This was supposed to increase efficiency for say, cruising down a highway. But the ensuing unreliability and clumsiness was so notorious that nobody dared try it again for twenty years. The volume the piston can squeeze is the compression ratio. In the nadir of the s, choked by smog regulations and forced to contend with unleaded gasoline, manufacturers built massive V8s that wheezed.

These big boys were held back by painfully low compression ratios—the lead that was once in gasoline prevented knocking. Commercial vehicles i. The design of modern automotive vehicles is discussed in the articles automobile , truck , bus , and motorcycle ; automotive engines are described in gasoline engine and diesel engine. The development of the automobile is covered in transportation, history of: The rise of the automobile.

The history of the automobile industry, though brief compared with that of many other industries, has exceptional interest because of its effects on 20th-century history.

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Although the automobile originated in Europe in the late 19th century, the United States completely dominated the world industry for the first half of the 20th century through the invention of mass production techniques. In the second half of the century the situation altered sharply as western European countries and Japan became major producers and exporters.

By the beginning of the 20th century, German and French manufacturers had been joined by British , Italian , and American makers.

Henry Ford's First Engine

Most early automobile companies were small shops, hundreds of which each produced a few handmade cars, and nearly all of which abandoned the business soon after going into it. The handful that survived into the era of large-scale production had certain characteristics in common.

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First, they fell into one of three well-defined categories: they were makers of bicycles , such as Opel in Germany and Morris in Great Britain; builders of horse-drawn vehicles, such as Durant and Studebaker in the United States; or, most frequently, machinery manufacturers.

The kinds of machinery included stationary gas engines Daimler of Germany, Lanchester of Britain , Olds of the United States , marine engines Vauxhall of Britain , machine tools Leland of the United States , sheep-shearing machinery Wolseley of Britain , washing machines Peerless of the United States , sewing machines White of the United States , and woodworking and milling machinery Panhard and Levassor of France.

automotive industry | History, Developments, & Facts |

One American company, Pierce, made birdcages, and another, Buick, made plumbing fixtures, including the first enameled cast-iron bathtub. Two notable exceptions to the general pattern were Rolls-Royce in Britain and Ford in the United States, both of which were founded as carmakers by partners who combined engineering talent and business skill. In the United States almost all of the producers were assemblers who put together components and parts that were manufactured by separate firms. The assembly technique also lent itself to an advantageous method of financing.

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It was possible to begin building motor vehicles with a minimal investment of capital by buying parts on credit and selling the finished cars for cash; the cash sale from manufacturer to dealer has been integral in the marketing of motor vehicles in the United States ever since. European automotive firms of this period tended to be more self-sufficient. The pioneer automobile manufacturer not only had to solve the technical and financial problems of getting into production but also had to make a basic decision about what to produce.

The brothers were bicycle makers who became interested in gasoline engines and automobiles and built their first motor vehicle in , in Springfield, Massachusetts.

By , the Duryea Motor Wagon Company had sold thirteen models of the Duryea, an expensive limousine, which remained in production into the s. Olds invented the basic concept of the assembly line and started the Detroit area automobile industry. He first began making steam and gasoline engines with his father, Pliny Fisk Olds, in Lansing, Michigan in Olds designed his first steam-powered car in In , with a growing experience of gasoline engines, Olds moved to Detroit to start the Olds Motor Works, and produce low-priced cars.

He produced "Curved Dash Olds" in , and was America's leading auto manufacturer from to American car manufacturer, Henry Ford invented an improved assembly line and installed the first conveyor belt-based assembly line in his car factory in Ford's Highland Park, Michigan plant, around The assembly line reduced production costs for cars by reducing assembly time. Ford's famous Model T was assembled in ninety-three minutes.

When Were Cars Invented?

Ford made his first car, called the "Quadricycle," in June However, success came after he formed the Ford Motor Company in This was the third car manufacturing company formed to produce the cars he designed. He introduced the Model T in and it was a success. After installing the moving assembly lines in his factory in , Ford became the world's biggest car manufacturer. By , 15 million Model Ts had been manufactured.


Selden, who had never built an automobile, held a patent on a "road engine", on that basis Selden was paid royalties by all American car manufacturers. Ford overturned Selden's patent and opened the American car market for the building of inexpensive cars. Share Flipboard Email. Table of Contents Expand. The Importance of Nicolaus Otto.

Automotive industry

Karl Benz. Gottlieb Daimler. Rene Panhard and Emile Levassor. Charles and Frank Duryea. Ransome Eli Olds.