History of the Automobile


1901 Mercedes 35 HP

It’s easy when we live in a conveniently modern world to forget how much we depend on technology.  While going through the motions, we use these advances so regularly that they have become integral to our lives. In those moments when we actually take a step back to realize what we have, that’s when we start to come to a fuller conclusion of how much we benefit from the great laborers of the times before us.  Especially when it comes to modern cars—how did we get what we have today?

It’s recorded that the first automobile was created in the late 1800s in Germany and France. However, quickly after America started to take the lead in the automotive industry by the twentieth century.  America became dominant in the market with innovators such as Henry Ford creating mass production techniques which eventually gave birth to the three automotive giants; Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler in the 1920s. Eventually, the industry expanded and became an international demand as European and Asian countries sought to keep up.

The 1901 Mercedes is given credit for being the first modern motorcar.  It was invented by Daimler Gessellshcaft in Germany. The Mercedes of 1901 achieved top speed of fifty three miles per hour.  During its early production, the Mercedes was being manufactured up to nearly a thousand cars per year. The early conflict of the automotive beginnings struggled with meeting consumer prices and operation expenses when the Mercedes hit the market. How could cars then after keep up with the modern design of the Mercedes and still be affordable to the average consumer?

America eventually produced a larger volume of automobiles than Europe, and at lower prices. There was an abundance of cheap raw materials, and the demand for cars was so high, which encouraged the growth of skilled laborers to get the work done.  Overall in the early stages of the automotive industry at large, Ford dominated the market for quality and quantity. But what marketed them so much was that they could make a great car for a great price. Ford’s mass production techniques were quickly adopted by other American automobile manufacturers. European automakers did not begin to use them until the 1930s.  Many of the smaller independent manufacturers could not keep up with the demand and quickly innovating design of future, modern cars as the automotive industry expanded, which resulted in an elimination of these competitors by the end of World War II.

The automobile was a movement of progression and modernization in the United States since its inception. The invention of the automobile created jobs for many, income for suppliers, and continued bring about pathways for great change in America.  It was the birth of a whole new world spiraling into significant technological advancements for years to come.  With the ease and access to greater transportation, more opportunities arose in a variety of areas to move the United States, and the rest of the world, into the future. In the mid-1920s the automobile ranked first in value of product, and in 1982 it provided one out of every six jobs in the United States. Automobiles ended rural isolation and brought about urban amenities—service stations, restaurants, expansion of the tourism industry, better schools and medical care, and more.  The modern world in which we reside is a result of the expansion of transportation opportunity by the automobile. There is no other innovation that has so revolutionized the way in which the world lives.

 

Written by GT Service Center