The Automobile Charles & Frank Duryea (1893)

Watch this video for some basic historical information on the automobile

In 1876, a German engineer invented an engine that was powered by gasoline (a fuel made from oil). In 1893, Charles and J. Frank Duryea used a gasoline engine to build the first practical motorcar in the United States. This invention would eventually come to be known as the automobile. Initially the number of automobiles on American roads was very small. In fact, there were very few paved roads in America at the time. However, by the early 1900s, thousands of cars were being built in the United States and businessmen were looking at ways to innovate the manufacturing process so that "cars" would be more affordable.

The earliest model "horseless carriages" with Frank and Charles Duryea (right).

What was the impact on Americans then? At first, only the wealthy could buy these early cars. Henry Ford introduced the first Model T in 1908. Ford was the first to implement (use) the moving assembly line in manufacturing, a process that greatly reduced the cost of building a product, thus making cars more affordable. As a result, by 1920 there were 7.5 million automobiles in America.

Assembly line innovations by companies like the Ford Motor Company made automobiles available to millions of American consumers.

What is the impact of the automobile today? Almost all Americans depend on cars for transportation to work, school, and entertainment. In fact, because of the great size of the U.S. in most parts of the country having a car is an absolute necessity. There are 260 million registered vehicles in the U.S. today. Consider that there is just over 320 million people living in the U.S. That is a lot of automobiles!

One key impact of the automobile is that it has made it possible for more people to go to school. It is no surprise that as more people began using automobiles for transportation that more people also began graduating high school.

Automobile made it possible for American children to get to school more easily

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Created By
Gary Brady

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