Your automobile is probably the second most important investment made by you after your house. The simple or swanky addition to your persona has a fascinating history. The cars on the road today are the products of consistent progression, from horse-drawn carts to modern-day automobiles. The primary function has always been transporting passengers, with the help of a built-in motor or engine. Automobiles or motor-cars are designed to seat between one and eight people. They run on four wheels, but may be customized further according to the need and type of transportation.

The transgression of the French 'automobile' and the Greek autos and Latin 'mobilis' is a journey from strength to strength. In the initial years, the 'movable vehicle' was propelled either by an animal or another self-movable vehicle. The word we use, 'car', comes from the Latin word 'carrus' and refers to a wheeled caravan.

An Account of the Automobile Industry

The credit for the first ever 'designed' automobile is shared. But, careful consideration of the records enables a realization that surpasses the names and designs. The sheer genius of the involvement is fantastic. In 1769, Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built the first self-propelled vehicle that was mechanized. The idea rooted, witnessed a number of subsequent efforts made towards taking the unstable three-wheeler a step further. Ferdinand Verbiest designed the first vehicle that was steam-powered, in 1672. However, this toy for the Chinese Emperor was in fact the first auto (self propelled) mobile (vehicle)! Richard Trevithick is credited with the first road worthy locomotive, designed in the year 1801.

The shortcomings of the steam-powered vehicle paved the way for contemporaries and successors to back up the body with a motor that could sustain the required steam pressure and be put to more practical use, than a way to spotlight an expensive indulgence. In the 1780s, in Russia, Ivan Kulibin came up with a pedaled carriage having, at that time, modern features, like a gear box and brake-system. In 1806, François Isaac de Rivaz of Switzerland designed the first automobile fitted with an engine that worked on internal combustion. The fuel was a mix of hydrogen and oxygen. Immediately after that, in what can be described as a design boom, inventors, like Samuel Brown and Etienne Lenoir came up with similarly propelled answers to the carriages and carts.

In the year 1881, Gustave Trouvé of France, developed and exhibited a three-wheeled automobile that was powered by man's greatest discovery then, electricity. The exhibition at the International Exhibition of Electricity in Paris resulted in many like-minded innovators designing and experimenting with self-propelled vehicles. German engineers applied full gusto dealing with the issues related to design or working of the vehicles. While the likes of Gottlieb Daimler and Maybach battled design and road-worthiness, Karl Benz came up with the ancestor of our modern-day auto.

In 1886, Karl Benz was granted a patent for his machine designed to work on a four-stroke cycle engine driven by gasoline. He founded Benz & Cie. in 1883 and subsequently kept adding to components and technological add-ons. The vehicles hit the market in 1888 and found a number of patrons. The inventions and glamorizing of the vehicles resulted in the need for large-scale production. Line manufacturing or production was adopted first in 1902, by Ransom Olds. The idea flourished under the supervision of ambitious Henry Ford. What started with one car in every 12 and a half hours, reached the zenith with a 15 minute production line!

Today, the cars we use and race are aptly fitted with intricate safety procedures and state-of-the-art automotive technology. The designs have come a long way and have adapted to environmental changes, when and as, accommodating even biofuels, to raise and maintain the standard of living and quality of personal transportation.