Most people believe that Henry Ford created the first automobile. Henry Ford designed the first mass-produced automobile; however, nations from all over the world had been working on faster transportation designs for hundreds of years. In fact, a vehicle only means that there is some sort of self-powered energy source making it so that you can travel from one destination to the next. Many nations were developing designs for self-propelled vehicles since 1335.
The first successful attempt at making a self-powered vehicle did not occur until 1769 in France. Two brilliant inventors designed and built a heavy, steam-powered vehicle. It weighed about 4,000 pounds, making it a big and intimidating. This French car only moved 2 miles per hour, but the military used it to move cannons across the city at a very slow rate. Even though this machine moved very slowly, it was still part of one of the first motor vehicle accidents when it ran into a heavy wall of stones in Paris, France.
In 1860, Etienne Lenoir, another French inventor, created the first gas engine that powered a small buggy across the countryside. Lenoir’s gas engine produced ½ horsepower and generated 100 rounds per minute (rpm). Today that doesn’t seem like much; however, nobody had seen anything like it before! Lenoir’s designed his gas engine to have two cylinders that compressed and burnt the gas. In 1862, Alphonse de Rochas invented the first single cylinder combustion engine that modern automobile manufacturers still use today.
Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz, two German inventors, created motor vehicles during the 1880s. Entire nations were becoming even more interested in motor vehicle transportation, which led to the beginning phases of the Industrial Revolution. Steam-powered vehicles had garnered international attention as a safe transportation method, despite a small percentage of accidents happening at the driver’s expense. The United Kingdom actively ignored the change that automobiles introduced to society, which placed England behind the rest of the competition when they decided to get involved.
In 1893, the Duryea brothers invented the first gasoline-powered vehicle in the United States. The invention of the automobile caused people to turn away from their horse carriages within only a few years. While this trend towards automobiles started during the late 1800s, many people remained unsure and stood by their time-tested animal-powered carriages to pull them along the road. During this time, Ransom Olds became the first mass producer of gas-powered vehicles in the United States. He even created electric cars for a short period. In 1901, the Ransom Olds Motor Company started selling its first single cylinder Oldsmobile for six hundred fifty dollars. The Oldsmobile Company sold 600 of these cars their first year, and 2,500 in the second year.
Contrary to popular opinion, Henry Ford did not build or sell the first automobiles. Despite this fact, his name still remains at the top of the world’s top automobile producers. The automobile industry still associates his name to the automobile, especially the Ford Model-T. Henry Ford built cars, but what made him successful was his use of the assembly line with conveyor belts in 1913. In fifteen years, the Ford Motor Company produced fifteen million automobiles, making Ford a very successful businessman. It was the Ford Model-T that propelled Henry Ford to fame. The price tag on the Ford Model-T ranged from about $800 to $1,000 before it lowered to $345. The inexpensive price tag made it possible for regular folks to purchase and drive cars. The Ford Model-T was also easily repairable, which meant that it would last for years. Fortunately for Ford, this steamrolled into a trend that would never fizzle out.
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