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