www.whyville.net Aug 30, 2006 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

The History of the Automobile

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One of my most favorite things in the world is the automobile. So I thought I'd write about the history of automobiles. Many people think Henry Ford was the inventor of the first automobile, but they are wrong.

The very first internal combustion engine was created almost 100 years earlier than Henry Ford's first automobile in 1903. The designer of the first internal combustion engine was a Swiss named Francois Isaac de Rivaz. His engine used a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen to generate energy. The design was not very succesful and neither were the designs of Samuel Brown and Samuel Morey who produced vehicles powere by clumsy internal combustion engines about 1826.

Etienne Lenoir produced the first succesful stationary internal combustion engine in 1860 and produced about four hundred operational engines in Paris. When Lenoir mounted his engine on a vehicle, it traveled more slowly than a man could walk.

The next innovation occurred in the late 1860s, with Siegfried Marcus, a German working in Vienna, Austria. He developed the idea of using gasoline as a fuel in a two-stroke internal combustion engine. In 1870, using a simple handcart, he built a crude vehicle with no seats, steering, or brakes, but it was remarkable for one reason: it was the world's first vehicle using an internal combustion engine fueled by gasoline.

In 1888 or 1889, he built a second automobile, this one with seats, brakes, and steering, and included a four-stroke engine of his own design. That design may have been tested in 1890. Although he held patents for many inventions, he never applied for patents for either design in this category.

Karl Benz was the first to patent a production automobile in 1885-1886. Gottlieb Daimler also produced vehicles between 1886-1889. Daimler and Benz merged and became one company, Damiler-Benz. Today Daimler-Benz is known as Mercedes-Benz but the Damiler name is still used in the name DaimlerChrysler, which refers to the Mercedes-Benz (which owns Maybach and Smart) and Chrysler (which owns Jeep and Dodge) which merged not too long ago. Many people believe Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler, and Whilhelm Maybach were the inventors of the first automobiles because they were the first to patent a production automobile.

In the early 1900s, most cars were electric because they were quiet, clean, and you didn't have to crank them to start them. When Henry Ford introduced mass production of automobiles, electric cars died down. These days Hybrids are becoming more and more popular and even electric cars such as the Tesla Roadster.

These days automobiles come in all shapes, sizes, names, and prices. They come from the USA, Japan, Germany, China, South Korea, France, Spain, Canada, Brazil, England, Mexico, India, Russia, Thailand, Italy, Sweden, and many more countries all around the world.

I learned a lot about the history of the automobile and I hope you did to.



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