AUTOMOBILES

Best Automobile Quote of All Time

One has to go back a while to recall a time when cars were simply means of transportation. In those days, they were just considered automobiles. Today, cars are extensions of their owners. They make statements about the character and status of their owners. They are loved, polished and pampered by some owners. They elicit a wide range of emotions, ranging from exasperation when they don’t work to pure delight when they are expensive, beautiful and drive like a dream. They cause people to stare and drool and say ‘Some day…’”
- Ebony Magazine

Question

Who invented the automobile?

Answer

This question does not have a straightforward answer. The history of the automobile is very rich and dates back to the 15th century when Leonardo da Vinci was creating designs and models for transport vehicles.

There are many different types of automobiles – steam, electric, and gasoline – as well as countless styles. Exactly who invented the automobile is a matter of opinion.   Earlier accounts often gave credit to Karl Benz, from Germany, for creating the first true automobile in 1885/1886.  However, our knowledge of the invention of the true automobile continues to evolve.  The story of the invention of the automobile has become enriched with various other figures who played a part in its history.

Das erste praktisch brauchbare automobil der welt, das Benz-Dreirad von 1885. Photograph shows the Benz three-wheeler, made in 1885. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.
Old horseless carriage at gasoline station near Lost River, New Hampshire. Carl Mydans photographer. 1936. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Below is a selection of highlights in automobile history, compiled from information in Leonard Bruno’s book Science and Technology Firsts (Detroit, c1997) and ThoughtCo.’s History of the Automobile.

Inventor
Date
Type/Description
Country

Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot (1725-1804)

1769

STEAM / Built the first self-propelled road vehicle (military tractor) for the French army: three wheeled, 2.5 mph.

France

Robert Anderson

1832-1839

ELECTRIC / Electric carriage.

Scotland

Karl Friedrich Benz (1844-1929)

1885/86

GASOLINE / Automobile powered by an internal combustion engine: three wheeled, four cycle, engine and chassis form a single unit.

Germany Patent DRP No. 37435

Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler (1834-1900) and Wilhelm Maybach (1846-1929)

1886

GASOLINE / First four wheeled, four-stroke engine- known as the “Cannstatt-Daimler.”

Germany

George Baldwin Selden (1846-1922)

1876/95

GASOLINE / Combined internal combustion engine with a carriage: patent no: 549,160 (1895). Never manufactured — Selden collected royalties.

United States

Charles Edgar Duryea (1862-1938) and his brother Frank (1870-1967)

1893

GASOLINE / First successful gas powered car: 4hp, two-stroke motor. The Duryea brothers set up first American car manufacturing company.

United States

1929 Essex Boat-Tail Speedster.

1929 Ford Model A Phaeton

1929 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan

1929 Packard 640 Custom Eight Roadster.

1930 Cord L-29 Cabriolet

1929 Hupmobile Sedan

1929 Duesenberg Model J

1929 Plymouth Coupe

1929 Star 18-50 Charlesworth Sunshine Saloon

1931 Chrysler CG Imperial Roadster at Blackhawk Museum

1931 Chrysler imperial series CG Sedan

1931 Ford Model A Roadster

1931 Ford Model A Station Wagon

1931 ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM I BOAT-TAIL

1931 Studebaker President Roadster.

1932 Auburn Boattail Speedster.

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1932 Hudson Great

1930 Ruxton Model C Roadster

1930 Packard Sedan

1932 Pierce-Arrow Model 54 Club Sedan

1933 MG Magna

1933 Ford Station Wagon

1933 AUBURN V-12 Boattail Speedster

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