The Automobile in American Life and Society
From the University of Michigan. The automobile’s impact on American life is everywhere, for the car is much more than a means of traveling from one place to another. This web site explores some of that vast impact. It is designed primarily with college students and faculty in mind, but students and educators at other levels, as well as the general public, will find it of interest.
The History of the Automobile Starting in the late 1700's, European engineers began tinkering with motor powered vehicles. Steam, combustion and electrical motors had all been attempted by the mid 1800's. By the 1900's, it was uncertain which type of engine would power the automobile. At first, the electric car was the most popular, but at the time a battery did not exist that would allow a car to move with much speed or over a long distance.
Everyday Mysteries: Who invented the automobile? 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.
Eyewitness to History: America’s First Automobile Race
Henry Ford receives most of the credit for the development of the car in the US,however, he did not produce the first American automobile. This distinction goes to the Duryea brothers - Charles and Frank - who created their first gasoline-powered "horseless-carriage" in 1893. Like the Wright brothers, the Duryeas were bicycle mechanics with a passion for innovation.
The 1896 Duryea – The First Production Automobile in America The American automobile industry began modestly in 1896 when the Duryea Motor Wagon Company of Springfield, Massachusetts sold 13 identical gasoline-powered vehicles. The company would last only three years, however brothers Charles and Frank Duryea became the first Americans to attempt tobuild and sell automobiles at a profit. Thus opened the commercial period of the American automobile industry.
1908-1927 Ford Model T It was on October 1, 1908, just about a month before William Howard Taft defeated William Jennings Bryan for the Presidency of the United States, that theFord Motor Companyunveiled the little machine that many historians think of as the most significant automobile of all time -- the 1908-1927 Ford Model T.