Automotive History

Why is it called an automobile? Or now a car? Why isn't it

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called anything else? Oliver Evens applied for a U.S. patent in

Philadelphia in 1792 on a steam land carriage, which he called the

"oruktor amphibolos". We could of been stuck with that name if it

wasn't for more reasonable people working on the same concept.

George B. Selden, an attorney in Rodchester, New York,

applied for a patent for a " road machine" and got it. He was the

first to get the patent.

Shocking Developments

No one person can be credited with the development of

today's modern cars. It has been developed bit by bit from the

ideas, imagination, fantasy, and tinkering of hundreds of

individuals through hundreds of years.

Eventually cars became battery powered. In the 1800's came

the first battery powered cars. They were quite and could start

instantly unlike the steamed powered engines that took along time

to start and were extremely loud. The battery powered cars also

have a disadvantages, they had to be recharged frequently and

could only go so far.

Towards the end of that century though we made better

batteries with longer lives, but they were still bulky and vary

heavy. The electric automobile had only had fifteen minutes of

fame though. On April, 29, 1899 of the one electric automobile that

reached a speed of 60mph. That broke all other speed records at

that time.

The car that was the most popular though was the Stanley

steamer. It was affectionately named the flying tea pot after one

was clocked at 127.6mph on the beach of Ormond, Florida. Over a

hundred different plants were putting out steam powered cars

compared to twenty-five for electric cars. Both of these cars were

only living on borrowed time though because of the experiments

being done with internal combustion engines.

Internal-Combustion Inventors

In 1864 a resourceful Austrian in Vienna, Siegfried Marcus,

built a one-cycle engine that had a crude carburetor and magneto

arrangement to create small explosions that put alternating pressure

on the piston. Bolting his engine to a cart and gearing it right, he

had a strong assistant lift the rear end and he started the engine and

the assistant put the cart down and they watched it slowly drive off.

It went about five hundred feet before it ran out of fuel. Ten years

latter he built a new and improved version of it. He never tested it

that anyone knew of. After that he washed his hands clean of the

whole thing and said it was a waste of time.

Carl Freidrich Benz and Gottlich Wilhelm Daimler worked

separately ( and almost at the same moment) in Germany. Each

designing and building the worlds first commercially successful

cars. Both engineers working only seventy-five miles apart.

Benz's first creation was not very impressive, either in design

or initial road test. It was fragile, carriage like, three wheeled, and

tubular frame work mounted on a one-horsepower, one cylinder

engine. The engine was a refined version of the four stroke engine

designed by Nickolaus Otto ( another German), who refined his

from Leniors two stroke version. The carriage also incorporated

some qualities that our cars have today: electric ignition,

mechanical valves, carburetor, engine cooling system, oil and

grease cups for lubrication, and a braking system.

Daimler also worked diligently to design a better internal

combustion engine. In 1833 he succeeded, pleased with his work

he decided to take a patent out on his engine. This engine was a

much better engine than that of Benz's. It was lighter and ran at a

higher speed, 900 rpm compared to 300 rpm, it was the first

example of a high speed engine, internal combustion engine.

This is a small portion of what happened in the prototype

days of the first cars. Many of these engineers continued for many

years after that to make faster and the more refined cars of today.

Today a high speed engine is 1000 horse power.