The History of Automobiles

An automobile is a four-wheeled vehicle designed primarily for passenger transportation and powered by an internal combustion engine using a volatile fuel. Modern automobiles are complex technical systems that require the use of sophisticated electronic computers and high-strength plastics, as well as steel and other metals. The automotive industry creates many jobs in the world and is one of the largest consumers of petroleum and other industrial products. It also provides a major source of revenue for countries and regions that have oil reserves.

Throughout history, people have used cars to convey their messages and express their personalities. Women such as Nell Richardson and Alice Burke drove around the country in 1916 with banners proclaiming “votes for women”.

The scientific and technical building blocks of the automobile date back several hundred years. The first automobile was a steam-driven vehicle built by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot in 1769. It was heavy and moved very slowly, but it had the advantage of being able to travel long distances without having to refill its supply of water.

Toward the end of the 19th century Gottlieb Daimler, Karl Benz and Nikolaus Otto in Germany began to manufacture cars that ran on internal-combustion engines. In the United States, Ransom Olds and James and William Packard established American car manufacturers. Henry Ford introduced modern mass production with his Model T runabout, which cost less than the average annual wage in 1912 and was the most popular car in the world by 1927.