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What person invented the car?


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November 27, 2008 2:27PM

Who invented the car is a simple enough question, but the answer is far more complicated as there was no ‘eureka’ moment, but rather a gradual evolution of automobile milestones. Dependent upon how liberally you apply the definition of automobile, which literally means ‘self-moving’, designs for such a vehicle can be traced to as far back to the 15th Century and drawings made by a true visionary - Leonardo Da Vinci. However, when it comes to a working self-propelled car, then Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot may well claim the title of original inventor. In 1769 he produced a fully functional road vehicle, or military tractor, built specifically for the French Army which recorded a top speed of 2.5 M.P.H. and was powered by steam. But, the car as we know it, propelled by an internal combustion petrol engine, was first successfully road-tested and patented by Karl Freidrich Benz in Germany in 1886. The three-wheel vehicle was propelled by a four-cycle internal combustion engine and in the same year another famous name associated with motoring and fellow German, Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler, along with his partner Wilhelm Maybach also produced an automobile but complete with the world’s first four-stroke engine. The first Briton to build a motor car was a plumber and gas fitter by the name of Fred Bremer, who at the tender age of 20 in 1892 started construction of his four-wheeled, gasoline driven car, which he first drove on the open road two years later. But it was brothers Frank and Charles Duryea, who became the first American car manufacturers in 1893 and indeed it was also in the USA that mass production became the standard for car manufacture. In 1901 Ransome Eli Olds introduced the basic assembly line in Detroit and became the largest manufacturer of cars. By 1913 however, Henry Ford had developed an assembly plant in Highland Park, Michigan that included a conveyor belt which drastically reduced production times; a Model T took 93 minutes to build from start to finish, and as a result his company became the world’s largest manufacturer. By 1927 over 15million Model T’s had been built at the plant.