What Exactly is An Automobile? | Automobile

People couldn’t depend on them. The most important thing about the modern automobile is that you can depend on it. When a man or woman goes to the garage, there is no doubt in his mind that the car will start immediately and run properly. The modern automobile was really born about seventy-five years ago. Men of all countries were working on the problem, but the first two that succeeded were Germans. One of them was named Gottlieb Daimler and the other was named Karl Benz.They did not work together, but each of them produced an automobile that used a “gas engine,” or internal combustion engine, as today’s automobiles do. Companies that they started are still manufacturing automobiles, Daimler in England and Mercedes-Benz in Germany. In the United States, a man named George B. Selden of Rochester, N. Y., got patents in 1895 that covered an automobile of the basic kind we still use. It was small and crude and you would never recognize it as being in the same class as today’s automobiles, but its main features were the same. There was a gasoline engine that supplied the power.There was a clutch, a device with which the driver could connect the engine with the driving mechanism when he wanted to go, and disconnect it when he wanted to stop. There was a transmission, a device that caused the engine, running at high speed, to turn the rear wheels of the car at a lower speed. The rear wheels pushed the car forward and made it “run by itself.” Even before Selden got his patent, Charles and Frank Duryea had made automobiles and Henry Eord was making one.Other great pioneers who made automobiles before the year 1900, were Ransom E. Olds, Alexander Winton, Elwood Haynes, Elmer Apperson, and several others. There were automobiles automobiles named for all these men, but only the name Olds has survived (in the Oldsmobile). Within the ten years that followed, literally hundreds of new makes of automobile appeared on the market. The number of different makes became less and less every year. During the 1930s, the “depression years” when business was so bad for everyone, all but the biggest had to go out of business.
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