One question that has been bugging your mind since you were a kid is who invented the automobile? When you think about it, the answer is pretty obvious. A car is simply a wheeled, self-propelled motor vehicle used primarily for transportation. Most common definitions of automobiles state that they run on paved roads, seat six to eight passengers, have two wheels, and are used to transport goods rather than products. However, these definitions are somewhat limited, as there have been many inventions made since the original car.
One of the first automobiles to be invented was the “carriage,” which was a wheeled carriage with a fixed body and no wheels. In fact, this very same basic idea was later used in the development of the modern steam engine. The steam engine was later refined into a fully functioning vehicle known as the diesel engine. Diesel also was later invented by accident, when a German named Julius Siemens developed a way to create fuel from coal. In fact, this same basic idea was later used by Ford to create his much beloved Ford Model T.
Another very important invention was the internal combustion engine. This was an amazing leap forward in the history of vehicles, as it was the first time that an engine powered a vehicle. With its discovery, cars could now be driven without any human input, using only fuel and energy from within the engine. Although internal combustion engines weren’t hugely popular, they did find a niche market in Japan, where it was still legal to ride motorcycles.
Other innovations included the air-cooled engine, which allowed for greater power and greater speed for cars. Also, an air-powered vehicle didn’t need any fuel at all, as it worked off the energy of the surrounding environment. This innovation, however, met a big roadblock: electric vehicles. Electric vehicles couldn’t drive on liquids, as the friction between the battery’s plates would simply vaporize the liquid and would require another kind of engine to power it.
Finally, the Frenchman Antibes was also responsible for some of the earliest automobiles. His design for a vehicle had no internal combustion engine, as it used a combination of water-powered pistons to generate power instead. This would make it easier to propel the vehicle through the water, and therefore, a much more efficient design was born. The Frenchman wasn’t the only one who came up with the idea, but he was arguably the most famous, since his designs have been copied countless times.
Another great early inventor was the English carpenter Richard Evelyn Ward. When Ward designed his steam propelled carriage in the mid-eighteen hundreds, he also clearly understood the benefits of using electricity as a power source: it was a lot cheaper, much safer, and much more efficient. Like the Frenchman, Ward too failed to see how his unique design could be duplicated by other inventors, but he did succeed in putting his innovative ideas into practice, and today we have the first self-propelled vehicle. There is little doubt that both Ward and the Frenchman were deeply influenced by the electric car.
One of the biggest names in the world of motor vehicles, however, is likely to go unmentioned when discussing who invented the automobile. That honor goes to Ford, who is widely considered to be America’s greatest car maker, at least until now. The Ford Model T is most commonly known as the first car to cross the border under the United States. Ford designed the Model T with a layout that was highly innovative for its time: it was a small, four-seat car with a five-foot electric motor. Though it was groundbreaking for its time, the Model T quickly became an icon, and its fame carried over to every model of Ford vehicle produced thereafter.
Other names often associated with automobiles include Diesler, Benz, and Rover. These manufacturers all had significant achievements before their time line was cut short by the First World War. Though each manufacturer might have had a longer time frame than others, none of them was able to create a vehicle that was capable of fitting into a standard household setting, like the Model T. As such, they all share a common heritage with the automobile, as all were designed to fulfill the desires of consumers seeking larger than regular sedan-like vehicles. They are, without question, one of the most important inventions in modern history.