History Of American Cars
A world without cars, although unimaginable today, was but a wink back in the evolution of times. When we say history of automobiles, what comes to your mind – a steam engine?
By: Ann Anderson
Starting with the first theoretical plans for a motor vehicle that had been drawn up by both Leonardo da Vinci and Isaac Newton.
The very first self-propelled car was built in 1769, when Nicolas Cugnot, a French military engineer designed a steam powered road-vehicle.
The vehicle was built at the Paris Arsenal, and was used by the French Army to move cannons. It had three wheels with the engine in the front along with the boiler. While Cugnot's 'car' was capable of attaining speeds of upto 6 kms/hour, it was far too heavy and slow to be of practical use. The vehicle had to stop every ten to fifteen minutes to build up steam power. The steam engine and boiler were separate from the rest of the vehicle and placed in the front. The following year (1770), Cugnot built a steam-powered tricycle that carried four passengers.
Steam engines powered cars by burning fuel that heated water in a boiler, creating steam that expanded and pushed pistons that turned the crankshaft, which then turned the wheels. During the early history of self-propelled vehicles - both road and railroad vehicles were being developed with steam engines. Steam engines added so much weight to a vehicle that they proved a poor design for road vehicles; however, steam engines were very successfully used in locomotives. Historians, who accept that early steam-powered road vehicles were automobiles, feel that Nicolas Cugnot was the inventor of the first automobile.
After Cugnot Several Other Inventors Designed Steam-Powered Road Vehicles.Cugnot’
The first successful internal combustion engine was a two-stroke gas driven engine patented by Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir of Belgium in 1860. In 1862 he built an experimental vehicle driven by his gas-engine, which managed to achieve a speed of 3 kms/hour. By 1865 around 500 of these engines were in use in Paris alone.
The first practical "four-stroke"
Otto started a workshop in Deutz near Cologne, supported by Langen in 1863. He had a model engine built and improved upon the gas engine, making it a practical power source. The four-stroke Otto Engine was invented in 1876, and a large number of engines were produced under the patent of Otto and Langen.
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Page Updated Last on: Sep 18, 2008