The automobile – the invention that changed the world
Nowadays, most of us cannot imagine life without the car. Thanks to it we can easily travel around. We use it to get to work and go on holiday. It is undoubtedly an invention that changed the world and made life a lot easier. On the today’s streets, we can see masses of modern vehicles that offer their owners maximum comfort, safety and the pleasure of driving. Each of them has the same elements: an engine, a steering wheel and four-wheels. However, their appearance and the way they were manufactured is radically different when compared to the vehicles which determined the development of the automotive industry in the world.
The history of the four wheels
Many people identify the birth of the automotive industry with the appearance of the internal combustion engine. However, this is a misconception. The first independently moving vehicle was a steam vehicle designed by Nicolas Cugnot, who showed the invention to the world in 1770. It was a very primitive design of a steam powered vehicle, which reached a speed of only 4km per hour. It was, however, a great invention, which appointed the direction of development in the automotive industry. What is more, it has become an inspiration for future designers who in the upcoming years were trying to put into life their own visions of a motor vehicle.
Patentwagen Number 1
On the 3rd of July, 1886, on the Ringstrabe street in Mannheim, Germany, a three-wheeled design made by Carl Benz, was presented to the world. It is accounted for another milestone in automotive history. Patentwagen Number 1 is the first vehicle with an internal combustion engine, which deserved to be named as a car. There were already several prototypes powered by the combustion engine present at that time. However, only the vehicle of Carl Benz was technically polished enough to be able to independently travel long distances.
The vehicle weighed 260kg and was moving at a speed of 16km/h. During the first test outside Benz’s yard it flawlessly drove for 24km. The automobile enthusiasts who would like to see for themselves the invention that changed the world, are welcome to visit the Deutsches Museum in Munich. It is in the collection of this facility where we can find a replica of Patentwagen Number 1, built in 1903, basing on the original documentation.
An automotive Icon
When writing about cars that changed the world, you cannot forget about a model, dating back over a hundred years, which is considered the most famous vehicle in automotive history. This car is the Ford T which started the era of mass production of cars. The first Ford T Model left the factory on Piquette Plant in Detroit, on the 27th of August 1908. Ford wanted this vehicle to be a universal car, available to every average American. His dream came true very quickly. With a low price (obtained thanks to the assembly line production type) the market received more than 15 million copies. An interesting fact is, that in 1927 the production of Ford T was improved to such an extent, that making one copy took only 90 minutes!
A solution that changes the future
Over a hundred years ago an automotive revolution took place. People moved from horse-drawn carriages and chaises to the first self-propelled cars. Since then, many design solutions has been changed dramatically due to the fact that each year there were solutions that contributed to the development of the whole industry. However, it is worth noting that the history of cars is changing before our eyes. In 1996 Toyota Prius I, was the first hybrid vehicle. It pointed ecological direction, which is currently being intensively developed by all manufacturers today. It is another vehicle in automotive history that changed our world and leads us into a new future.