Steam engines added so much weight to a vehicle, they proved a poor design for road vehicles. The steam engine cars could take up to 45 minutes to start on cold mornings. They also required refills of water more often than the range of an electric car. Steam engines required four times the amount of gasoline compared to the internal combustion engines. There were dangers with gasoline burners and boilers used in the steam cars while internal combustion engines had niether open flame nor risk of explosions.
The French engineer and mechanic, Nicholas Cugnot, created the first self-propelled road vehicle. The vehicle was steam driven and used for military purposes.
Oliver Evans received the first US patent for a steam driven land vehicle.
Richard Trevithick built the first steam driven carriage in Great Britain.
Steam powered stage coaches were commonly used in Great Britain between 1820 and 1840.
Other 1800s Steam powered road vehicles were produced by such names as Charles Deitz, Harrison Dyer, Joseph Dixon, Rufus Porter, William T. James, Amedee Bollee Sr. and Dr. J.W.Carhart.
The first electric carriages used rechargeable batteries powering small electric motors. The vehicles were heavy, slow, expensive, and required frequent recharging. In the US, electric vehicles outsold all other cars into the early years of the 1900s. The electric vehicles did not vibrate, smell, produce noise, nor require shifting of gears as did the internal combustion engine cars. By the 1920s, decent roads connecting cities began to emerge. Car owners looked beyond using vehicles as local transportation.
Robert Anderson of Scotland invented the first electric carriage sometime between 1832 and 1839.
Professor Stratingh of Holland created a small scale electric vehicle.
Around 1842, practical electric vehicles were produced successfully by both American Thomas Davenport and Scotish Robert Davidson using nonrechargeable electric cells.
In 1865, Frenchmen Gaston Plante invented an improved storage battery.
In 1881, Frenchmen Camille Faure further improved the storage battery and the electric vehicles then began to gain popularity. France and Great Britain were the first nations to support the widespread development of electric vehicles.
In 1888, Philip W. Pratt demonstated the first American electric car on the streets of Boston Massachusetts.
American A.L.Ryker built an electric tricycle. During the same time, American William Morrison built an electric powered six passenger wagon.
In 1897, The Electric Carriage and Wagon Company of Philadelphia was first in the US to produce commercial electric vehicles by producing a fleet of electric New York taxis.
In the US, the Electric Car outsold all other types of cars in 1899 and 1900.
Electric Car sales peaked in 1912. Charles Kettering of Cadillac created the first practical electric starter for the internal combustion engine, whereby eliminating the need for the dangerous hand crank starter. In addition, production methods for the internal combustion engine automobiles were allowing many more automobiles to be produced and reducing the cost per unit. The 1912 price comparison placed the internal combustion engine at $650.00 verses an electric vehicle priced at $1,750.00.
By the end of the 1920s, the Electric Car was all but extinct.
By the early 1900s, both steam and electric vehicles were abandoned in favor of the gasoline powered internal combustion cars.
The Dutch physicist Christian Huygens designed an internal combustion engine fueled by gunpowder. The engine was never built.
The Swiss inventor Francois Isaac de Rivas created the first internal combustion engine, fueled with a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen. Rivas designed a car for this engine, but the results were unsuccessful.
English engineer Samuel Brown invents an internal combustion engine with separate combustion and working cylinders to power a vehicle. Brown adapted a Newcomen steam engine to burn gas.
Belgian engineer Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir invented and later patented a double-acting, electric spark ignition internal combustion engine fueled by coal gas.
French civil engineer Alphonse Beau de Rohcas patented French patent #52593, a four stroke engine, which he never built.
Austrian engineer Siegfried Marcus designed a one cylinder engine, which he attached to a cart. The engine had a crude carburetor fuel supply.
Using Lenoir's (1858) and de Rochas (1862) designs as a foundation, German engineers Eugen Langen and Nicholas August Otto invented a more efficient engine.
American engineer George Brayton designed an unsuccessful two-stroke engine fueled by kerosene.
Austrian engineer Siegfried Marcus designed his first car in 1864. History can not pinpoint the creation date for Marcus' second car, but many point to 1875. If indeed 1875 was the date which Marcus produced his second car, the car would be considered the first four-stroke engine, the first engine using gasoline as fuel, the first engine to have a gasoline carburetor, the first engine to use magnito ignition.
German engineer Nicholas August Otto invented a successful four-stroke engine. The engine became known as the Otto cycle. Otto would later Patent the engine.
Scottish engineer Sir Dugald Clerk invented a successful two-stroke engine. Clerk would later Patent the engine in 1881.
French engineer Edouard Delamare-Debouteville designed a single cylinder four-stroke engine fueled by stove gas. In some ways, Delamare-Debouteville's designs are considered more advanced than Diamler and Benz.
German engineer Gottlieb Damler's vertical cylinder, gasoline carburetor injected fuel engine is considered by many to be the prototype to the modern gasoline engine.
Also in 1885, German engine designer Karl Benz, considered by many to be the inventor of the gasoline powered automobile, builds his first vehicle.
German engineer Gottlieb Damler's produces the first gasoline powered four wheeled vehicle.
In 1891, Scientific American Magazine published an ariticle detailing the working of the internal combustion engine from Karl Benz's vehicle. Information was transferred via news papers and magazines in the 1890s. The train's infancy in the U.S. dates back to 1826 http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blrailroad.htm. The train connected cities in the U.S. and information was distributed relatively quickly via this mode. (links are included at the bottom of this page providing further information about American trains). Some believe that in 1891, the first internal combustion car in America was produced by John Lambert. Unfortunately the is no documentation to support this claim. In France, the Panhard automobile laid the foundation for design of future automobiles with it's format for a forward mounted engine, clutch separated the engine from the transmision powering a rear wheel drive.
Sources used for this page and for more information: http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blPanhardLevassor.htm
Brothers Charles and Frank Duryea make claim to building the first internal combustion car in America. Many have disputed the claim for the Duryea vehicle being the first gasoline combustion car in America. On September 21, 1893, Frank Duryea drove the Duryea Brothers first gasoline powered vehicle in Chicopee Massachusetts witnessed by a reporter from the Springfield Evening Union, making the Duryea carriage the oldest documented American gasoline powered vehicle.
The victory for Charles and Frank Duryea in the first American automobile race in 1895 helped secure the financial investors for producing automobiles for sale. The 1896 Duryea launched the American automobile industry. Thirteen vehicles of the same copy were produced and sold.
January 10, 1901 drilling in Spindletown Texas resulted in significant oil production and eventual cheap gasoline http://www.texasalmanac.com/history/highlights/oil/ . By the end of the decade gasoline would go from being sold in the local hardware store to gasoline pumping stations. 1901 also saw R.E. Old's curved dash Oldsmobile become the first affordable mass produced automobile.
Henry Ford sold the first Model T in 1908. The Ford Model T was durable and affordable to the common man. It was the car which changed the world from horse transportation to automobiles. Ford produced the Model T from 1908 until 1927, producing more than fifteen million units.
American inventor and patent lawyer George Selden filed for patent rights to the automobile in 1879. Selden used some legal trickery known as submarining to delay the patent until 1895, around the time of the birth of the American automobile industry. Selden held a monopoly on the automobile industry much like the Wright Brothers on aviation, helping to deter investment and slow the progress of the industry. Henry Ford took George Selden to court to challenge the patent rights. Ford won on appeal.http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/how-henry-ford-zapped-a-licensing-monopoly/.
When Congress passed the Federal- Aid Road Act of 1916, America began the improvement for it's bad roads http://www.tfhrc.gov/pubrds/summer96/p96su2.htm. The gasoline tax was introduced in 1919 http://www.jstor.org/pss/1891987, taxing the sale of gasoline for funding the maintenance and developement of roadways.
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