The car

From automobile to sports car

A walk through the history of the world economy may at the first sight not seem to sound interesting. But when we take a look at the development of the car we see how the world economy developed in an interesting way. This collection starts in de industrial revolution, when Great Britain quickly became one of the most dominant economies in the world, with France and Germany right behind. In the twentieth century the economy of the US became stronger and more important. At the end of this century Japan and later China were more important. Japan’s factories are all over Europe and the US now and European factories have to focus on luxury and sport now. Another change is that building cars once can be seen as an individual project, but is it not anymore. Today, it is remarkable that possessing a car from the past, an old-timer, is generally considered to be a symbol of status, wealth and passion for cars, while in the past, to possess the newest car model was a goal and wish of many. Of course, many people still today would like to have the newest model, but the old-timer has gained a status that is not likely to disappear soon.

Acknowledgements: This source collection has been developed by Bjorn Pels with the support of Laura Steenbrink. The source collection makes use of sources provided by the Digital Mechanism and Gear Library, Tekniska museet, Royal Museums Greenwich, National Library of Wales, Universitätsbibliothek Würzburg, American Farm School of Thessaloniki Historical Archives, Nord-Troms Museum, Spielzeugmuseum Nürnberg, CODA Apeldoorn, Danmarks Tekniske Museum, Finnmark Fylkesbibliotek, Ajuntament de Girona, Deutsche Kinemathek, Hellenic Aggregator and Veria Public Library and Centro de Documentación de Fundación Mapfre.

Cugnot 1770

The French military engineer and inventor Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built what many consider to be world's first self-propelled mechanical vehicle or automobile. Steam-powered self-propelled vehicles large enough to transport people and cargo were first devised in the late 18th century. Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot demonstrated his fardier à vapeur ("steam dray"), an experimental steam-driven artillery tractor, in 1770 and 1771. As Cugnot's design proved to be impractical, his invention was not developed in France. The initiative of innovation shifted to Great Britain. By 1784, William Murdoch had built a working model of a steam carriage in Redruth. The first automobile patent in the United States was granted to Oliver Evans in 1789, and in 1801 Richard Trevithick was running a full-sized vehicle on the roads in Camborne. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library - www.dmg-lib.org, 36683023, tp://www.dmg-lib.org/dmglib/handler?image=36683023, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Cugnot 1770

The French military engineer and inventor Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built what many consider to be world's first self-propelled mechanical vehicle or automobile. Steam-powered self-propelled vehicles large enough to transport people and cargo were first devised in the late 18th century. Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot demonstrated his fardier à vapeur ("steam dray"), an experimental steam-driven artillery tractor, in 1770 and 1771. As Cugnot's design proved to be impractical, his invention was not developed in France. The initiative of innovation shifted to Great Britain. By 1784, William Murdoch had built a working model of a steam carriage in Redruth. The first automobile patent in the United States was granted to Oliver Evans in 1789, and in 1801 Richard Trevithick was running a full-sized vehicle on the roads in Camborne. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library - www.dmg-lib.org, 36683023, tp://www.dmg-lib.org/dmglib/handler?image=36683023, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Walter Hancock (1838)

Walter Hancock, builder and operator of London steam buses, built a four-seat steam phaeton in 1838. Between 1824 and 1836 in Stratford, near London, Hancock constructed a number of steam-powered road vehicles. In 1827 he patented a steam boiler constructed with separate chambers of thin metal which could split rather than explode, a safety measure for operators and passengers. These were not the first road locomotives: experiments by Richard Trevithick occurred a generation earlier with his Puffing Devil and London Steam Carriage; but they were the most successful. It will also be noted that railways were being introduced in England around the same time as Hancock's enterprises. This image shows one of the buses of Hancock. (Tekniska museet, http://kulturarvsdata.se/tekm/object/TM32534, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/)

Walter Hancock (1838)

Walter Hancock, builder and operator of London steam buses, built a four-seat steam phaeton in 1838. Between 1824 and 1836 in Stratford, near London, Hancock constructed a number of steam-powered road vehicles. In 1827 he patented a steam boiler constructed with separate chambers of thin metal which could split rather than explode, a safety measure for operators and passengers. These were not the first road locomotives: experiments by Richard Trevithick occurred a generation earlier with his Puffing Devil and London Steam Carriage; but they were the most successful. It will also be noted that railways were being introduced in England around the same time as Hancock's enterprises. This image shows one of the buses of Hancock. (Tekniska museet, http://kulturarvsdata.se/tekm/object/TM32534, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/)

Christian Schönbein (1838)

Christian Friedrich Schönbein (1799 – 1868) was a German-Swiss chemist who is best known for inventing the fuel cell (1838) at the same time as William Robert Grove and his discoveries of guncotton and ozone. Although his wife had forbidden him to do so, Schönbein occasionally experimented at home in the kitchen. One day in 1845, when his wife was away, he spilled a mixture of nitric acid and sulfuric acid. After using his wife's cotton apron to mop it up, he hung the apron over the stove to dry, only to find that the cloth spontaneously ignited and burned so quickly that it seemed to disappear. Schönbein, in fact, had converted the cellulose of the apron, with the nitro groups (added from the nitric acid) serving as an internal source of oxygen; when heated, the cellulose was completely and suddenly oxidized. (Universitätsbibliothek Würzburg, urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-hpf540313-1, CC BY-NC-SA http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Christian Schönbein (1838)

Christian Friedrich Schönbein (1799 – 1868) was a German-Swiss chemist who is best known for inventing the fuel cell (1838) at the same time as William Robert Grove and his discoveries of guncotton and ozone. Although his wife had forbidden him to do so, Schönbein occasionally experimented at home in the kitchen. One day in 1845, when his wife was away, he spilled a mixture of nitric acid and sulfuric acid. After using his wife's cotton apron to mop it up, he hung the apron over the stove to dry, only to find that the cloth spontaneously ignited and burned so quickly that it seemed to disappear. Schönbein, in fact, had converted the cellulose of the apron, with the nitro groups (added from the nitric acid) serving as an internal source of oxygen; when heated, the cellulose was completely and suddenly oxidized. (Universitätsbibliothek Würzburg, urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-hpf540313-1, CC BY-NC-SA http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Goodyear (1844)

While inventors like Diesel were developing engines in a careful and scientific way, a hapless American called Charles Goodyear (1800–1860) invented the way of making car tires completely by accident. After learning about rubber, he convinced himself he could make his fortune by turning it into useful objects like waterproof shoes. All attempts ended in disaster and his life became a only misery and misfortune. His shoes melted in the summer heat, six of his 12 children died in infancy, and his family had to live in grinding poverty eating fish from the river. But Goodyear was determined. When debts landed him in jail, he simply asked his wife to bring him a rolling pin and some rubber and he carried on inventing in his cell. He finally made his big breakthrough when he accidentally dropped a piece of rubber on a hot stove. It cooked and shrivelled into a hard black mass that Goodyear immediately spotted as the thing he had wanted all along. This is how he developed the tough black rubber we use in tires today by a cooking process now known as vulcanization. (American Farm School of Thessaloniki Historical Archives, Public Domain Marked http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/

Goodyear (1844)

While inventors like Diesel were developing engines in a careful and scientific way, a hapless American called Charles Goodyear (1800–1860) invented the way of making car tires completely by accident. After learning about rubber, he convinced himself he could make his fortune by turning it into useful objects like waterproof shoes. All attempts ended in disaster and his life became a only misery and misfortune. His shoes melted in the summer heat, six of his 12 children died in infancy, and his family had to live in grinding poverty eating fish from the river. But Goodyear was determined. When debts landed him in jail, he simply asked his wife to bring him a rolling pin and some rubber and he carried on inventing in his cell. He finally made his big breakthrough when he accidentally dropped a piece of rubber on a hot stove. It cooked and shrivelled into a hard black mass that Goodyear immediately spotted as the thing he had wanted all along. This is how he developed the tough black rubber we use in tires today by a cooking process now known as vulcanization. (American Farm School of Thessaloniki Historical Archives, Public Domain Marked http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/

Ányos Jedlik (1859)

Ányos István Jedlik (1800 – 1895) was a Hungarian inventor, engineer, physicist, and Benedictine priest. He is considered by Hungarians and Slovaks to be the unsung father of the dynamo and electric motor. In 1827, Jedlik started experimenting with electromagnetic rotating devices which he called electromagnetic self-rotors. In the prototype of the single-pole electric starter, both the stationary and the revolving parts were electromagnetic. In essence, the concept is that instead of permanent magnets, two opposed electromagnets induce the magnetic field around the rotor. He formulated the concept of the self-excited dynamo about 1861, six years before Siemens and Wheatstone. This source shows the open-chain stand for testing the transmission system of industrial electric cards. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library dmg:9429023, CC BY-NC-ND, http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)

Ányos Jedlik (1859)

Ányos István Jedlik (1800 – 1895) was a Hungarian inventor, engineer, physicist, and Benedictine priest. He is considered by Hungarians and Slovaks to be the unsung father of the dynamo and electric motor. In 1827, Jedlik started experimenting with electromagnetic rotating devices which he called electromagnetic self-rotors. In the prototype of the single-pole electric starter, both the stationary and the revolving parts were electromagnetic. In essence, the concept is that instead of permanent magnets, two opposed electromagnets induce the magnetic field around the rotor. He formulated the concept of the self-excited dynamo about 1861, six years before Siemens and Wheatstone. This source shows the open-chain stand for testing the transmission system of industrial electric cards. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library dmg:9429023, CC BY-NC-ND, http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/)

Amédée Ernest Bollée (1873)

What some people define as the first "real" automobile was produced by French Amédée Bollée in 1873, who built self-propelled steam road vehicles to transport groups of passengers. Amédée-Ernest Bollée (1844 – 1917) was a French bellfounder and inventor who specialized in steam cars. Amédée père manufactured his first steam vehicle in 1873 (pictured), and in 1875 his L'Obéissante ("The Obedient") made the first road trip between Le Mans and Paris in 18 hours. L'Obeissante carried 12 passengers and had a cruising speed of 30 km/h (19 mph) and a top speed of 40 km/h (25 mph). It was driven by two V-twin steam engines, one for each rear wheel. The original vehicle is preserved in the collection of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library dmg:37717023, CC BY-NC-ND, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Amédée Ernest Bollée (1873)

What some people define as the first "real" automobile was produced by French Amédée Bollée in 1873, who built self-propelled steam road vehicles to transport groups of passengers. Amédée-Ernest Bollée (1844 – 1917) was a French bellfounder and inventor who specialized in steam cars. Amédée père manufactured his first steam vehicle in 1873 (pictured), and in 1875 his L'Obéissante ("The Obedient") made the first road trip between Le Mans and Paris in 18 hours. L'Obeissante carried 12 passengers and had a cruising speed of 30 km/h (19 mph) and a top speed of 40 km/h (25 mph). It was driven by two V-twin steam engines, one for each rear wheel. The original vehicle is preserved in the collection of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library dmg:37717023, CC BY-NC-ND, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Nikolaus Otto (1876)

The four-stroke petrol (gasoline) internal combustion engine that constitutes the most prevalent form of modern automotive propulsion is a creation of Otto. Nikolaus August Otto (1832 – 26 January 1891) was the German engineer of the first internal-combustion engine to efficiently burn fuel directly in a piston chamber. Although the concept of four strokes, with the vital compression of the mixture before ignition, had been invented and patented in 1861 by Alphonse Beau de Rochas, Otto was the first to make it practical. This is an image of an internal combustion engine, from a motor from 1900. (Royal Museums Greenwich EQS0116, SR1972-7, EQS0427, SE6, RP8529, CC BY-NC-SA, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Nikolaus Otto (1876)

The four-stroke petrol (gasoline) internal combustion engine that constitutes the most prevalent form of modern automotive propulsion is a creation of Otto. Nikolaus August Otto (1832 – 26 January 1891) was the German engineer of the first internal-combustion engine to efficiently burn fuel directly in a piston chamber. Although the concept of four strokes, with the vital compression of the mixture before ignition, had been invented and patented in 1861 by Alphonse Beau de Rochas, Otto was the first to make it practical. This is an image of an internal combustion engine, from a motor from 1900. (Royal Museums Greenwich EQS0116, SR1972-7, EQS0427, SE6, RP8529, CC BY-NC-SA, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Karl Benz (1886 )

Karl Benz (1844 – 1929) is considered the inventor of numerous car-related technologies. He was a German engine designer and engineer, generally regarded as the inventor of the first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine, and together with Bertha Benz, pioneering founder of the automobile manufacturer Mercedes-Benz, today one of the leading car brands. Benz patented all the processes that made the internal combustion engine feasible for use in an automobile. In 1879, the first engine patent was granted to him, and in 1886, Benz was granted a patent for his first automobile. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library dmg:17525023, CC BY-NC-ND, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Karl Benz (1886 )

Karl Benz (1844 – 1929) is considered the inventor of numerous car-related technologies. He was a German engine designer and engineer, generally regarded as the inventor of the first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine, and together with Bertha Benz, pioneering founder of the automobile manufacturer Mercedes-Benz, today one of the leading car brands. Benz patented all the processes that made the internal combustion engine feasible for use in an automobile. In 1879, the first engine patent was granted to him, and in 1886, Benz was granted a patent for his first automobile. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library dmg:17525023, CC BY-NC-ND, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Rudolf Diesel (1893)

Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel (1858 – 1913) was a German inventor and mechanical engineer, famous for the invention of the diesel engine. Diesel understood thermodynamics and the theoretical and practical constraints on fuel efficiency. He knew that as much as 90% of the energy available in the fuel is wasted in a steam engine. His work in engine design was driven by the goal of much higher efficiency ratios. After experimenting with a Carnot Cycle engine, he developed his own approach. Eventually, he obtained a patent for his design for a compression-ignition engine. In his engine, fuel was injected at the end of compression and the fuel was ignited by the high temperature resulting from compression. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library dmg:17740023, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Rudolf Diesel (1893)

Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel (1858 – 1913) was a German inventor and mechanical engineer, famous for the invention of the diesel engine. Diesel understood thermodynamics and the theoretical and practical constraints on fuel efficiency. He knew that as much as 90% of the energy available in the fuel is wasted in a steam engine. His work in engine design was driven by the goal of much higher efficiency ratios. After experimenting with a Carnot Cycle engine, he developed his own approach. Eventually, he obtained a patent for his design for a compression-ignition engine. In his engine, fuel was injected at the end of compression and the fuel was ignited by the high temperature resulting from compression. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library dmg:17740023, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Henry Ford (1903)

Ford (1863 - 1947) was no scientist, but he had been repairing watches and tinkering with machines since he was a boy. Never afraid to start a challenge, he loved machinery and understood it instinctively. His first car was little more than a four-wheel motorbike that he called the Quadricycle. When he took it on the streets of Detroit in 1896, horses bolted in all directions. Ford must have been delighted: he had no time for horses. Aged 14, he'd been thrown from the saddle of a colt, caught his foot in the stirrups, and dragged home along the ground. A few years later, he'd been seriously injured when his bolting horse and cart tried to smash through a fence. Now was the time to settle the matter. Ford loved machines and hated horses, so he hatched a simple plan: he would make the simplest possible "horseless carriage" but in such enormous quantities, in only one color, that he could sell it cheaply to a huge number of people. It took him 12 years to get things right. In fact, he made eight different models (named A, B, C, F, N, R, S, and K) before he finally came up with a winner, the Model T (pictured), launched in 1908—a car everyone could afford. Around 15 million Model T Fords were eventually sold and a delighted (and very rich) Henry Ford scribbled in his notebook: "The horse is DONE". (Nord-Troms Museum, NTRM/NTRMF42-04988, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Henry Ford (1903)

Ford (1863 - 1947) was no scientist, but he had been repairing watches and tinkering with machines since he was a boy. Never afraid to start a challenge, he loved machinery and understood it instinctively. His first car was little more than a four-wheel motorbike that he called the Quadricycle. When he took it on the streets of Detroit in 1896, horses bolted in all directions. Ford must have been delighted: he had no time for horses. Aged 14, he'd been thrown from the saddle of a colt, caught his foot in the stirrups, and dragged home along the ground. A few years later, he'd been seriously injured when his bolting horse and cart tried to smash through a fence. Now was the time to settle the matter. Ford loved machines and hated horses, so he hatched a simple plan: he would make the simplest possible "horseless carriage" but in such enormous quantities, in only one color, that he could sell it cheaply to a huge number of people. It took him 12 years to get things right. In fact, he made eight different models (named A, B, C, F, N, R, S, and K) before he finally came up with a winner, the Model T (pictured), launched in 1908—a car everyone could afford. Around 15 million Model T Fords were eventually sold and a delighted (and very rich) Henry Ford scribbled in his notebook: "The horse is DONE". (Nord-Troms Museum, NTRM/NTRMF42-04988, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Henry Ford (1913)

Most things become more expensive over time—but Ford's pint-sized miracle car, the Model T, dropped in price from $850 when it was launched in 1908 to just $260 in 1925. The secret was mass-production: making the car from simple, easy-to-fit parts in huge quantities. Other car makers used small groups of mechanics to build entire cars very slowly. By 1913, Ford was building cars at his new Highland Park factory in a completely different way using a moving "assembly line". Model Ts were gradually assembled on a conveyor that inched past a series of workers. Each mechanic was trained to do only one job and worked briefly on each car as it passed by. Then the vehicle moved on, someone else did another bit, and the whole car magically came together. The first year Ford used this assembly line, the production of the Model T increased from 82,000 to 189,000. By 1923, Ford's giant River Rouge factory was making 2 million cars a year. This is an image of the assembly line many years later, around the 1980s. First the factories were filled with people, nowadays the assembly line is almost fully automatized. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library dmg:6993023, CC BY-NC-ND, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Henry Ford (1913)

Most things become more expensive over time—but Ford's pint-sized miracle car, the Model T, dropped in price from $850 when it was launched in 1908 to just $260 in 1925. The secret was mass-production: making the car from simple, easy-to-fit parts in huge quantities. Other car makers used small groups of mechanics to build entire cars very slowly. By 1913, Ford was building cars at his new Highland Park factory in a completely different way using a moving "assembly line". Model Ts were gradually assembled on a conveyor that inched past a series of workers. Each mechanic was trained to do only one job and worked briefly on each car as it passed by. Then the vehicle moved on, someone else did another bit, and the whole car magically came together. The first year Ford used this assembly line, the production of the Model T increased from 82,000 to 189,000. By 1923, Ford's giant River Rouge factory was making 2 million cars a year. This is an image of the assembly line many years later, around the 1980s. First the factories were filled with people, nowadays the assembly line is almost fully automatized. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library dmg:6993023, CC BY-NC-ND, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Mercer Raceabout (1913 )

1910 Mercer Raceabout — regarded as one of the first sports cars, the Raceabout expressed the exuberance of the driving public, as did the similarly conceived American Underslung and Hispano-Suiza Alphonso. Washington A. Roebling II was friends with William Walter, who had been making a small number of high-quality automobiles in New York City. The Kusers owned a vacant brewery in Hamilton, New Jersey, and brought Walter and his car factory there in 1906. However, Walter found himself deeply in debt by 1909, so the Roeblings and Kusers have him money to buy him out. They changed the company name to Mercer, named after Mercer County, New Jersey. Talented designers and race drivers contributed to the new effort, and the focus became to prove the quality of their product in competition. The result was one of the most admired sports cars of the decade; the 1910 Type-35R Raceabout, a stripped-down, two-seat speedster, designed to be "safely and consistently" driven at over 70 mph (110 km/h). It could reach a maximum speed of over 90 mph (140 km/h). (Spielzeugmuseum Nürnberg 1981.61, CC BY-NC-SA, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Mercer Raceabout (1913 )

1910 Mercer Raceabout — regarded as one of the first sports cars, the Raceabout expressed the exuberance of the driving public, as did the similarly conceived American Underslung and Hispano-Suiza Alphonso. Washington A. Roebling II was friends with William Walter, who had been making a small number of high-quality automobiles in New York City. The Kusers owned a vacant brewery in Hamilton, New Jersey, and brought Walter and his car factory there in 1906. However, Walter found himself deeply in debt by 1909, so the Roeblings and Kusers have him money to buy him out. They changed the company name to Mercer, named after Mercer County, New Jersey. Talented designers and race drivers contributed to the new effort, and the focus became to prove the quality of their product in competition. The result was one of the most admired sports cars of the decade; the 1910 Type-35R Raceabout, a stripped-down, two-seat speedster, designed to be "safely and consistently" driven at over 70 mph (110 km/h). It could reach a maximum speed of over 90 mph (140 km/h). (Spielzeugmuseum Nürnberg 1981.61, CC BY-NC-SA, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Lancia Lambda (1925)

The Lancia Lambda, a very advanced car for its time was the first car to feature a load-bearing monocoque-type body and an independent front suspension. The Lancia Lambda is an innovative automobile produced from 1922 until 1931. It was the first car to feature a load-bearing unitary body, (but without a stressed roof) and it also pioneered the use of an independent suspension (the front sliding pillar with coil springs). Vincenzo Lancia even invented a shock absorber for the car and it had excellent four wheel brakes. Approximately 11,200 Lambdas were produced. The picture is taken in the 1960s. (CODA Apeldoorn, GA-012022, CC BY-SA, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/)

Lancia Lambda (1925)

The Lancia Lambda, a very advanced car for its time was the first car to feature a load-bearing monocoque-type body and an independent front suspension. The Lancia Lambda is an innovative automobile produced from 1922 until 1931. It was the first car to feature a load-bearing unitary body, (but without a stressed roof) and it also pioneered the use of an independent suspension (the front sliding pillar with coil springs). Vincenzo Lancia even invented a shock absorber for the car and it had excellent four wheel brakes. Approximately 11,200 Lambdas were produced. The picture is taken in the 1960s. (CODA Apeldoorn, GA-012022, CC BY-SA, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/)

The engine in the front (1920s)

The vintage era lasted from the end of World War I (1918), through the Wall Street Crash at the end of 1929. During this period, the front-engined car came to dominate, with closed bodies and standardised controls becoming the norm. In 1919, 90% of cars sold were open; by 1929, 90% were closed. Development of the internal combustion engine continued rapidly, with multi-valve and overhead camshaft engines produced at the high end, and V8, V12, and even V16 engines conceived those who could afford it. Also in 1919, hydraulic brakes were invented by Malcolm Loughead (co-founder of Lockheed); they were used by Duesenberg for its 1921 Model A. Three years later, Hermann Rieseler of Vulcan Motor invented the first automatic transmission, which had a two-speed planetary gearbox, a torque converter, and a lockup clutch. However, it never entered the production stage, and a similar model with the same features would only enter the market in 1940. Just at the end of the vintage era, tempered glass (now standard equipment in side windows) was invented in France. In this era the revolutionary ponton design of cars without fully articulated fenders, running boards and other non-compact ledge elements, was introduced in small series but a mass production of such cars came many years later (after WWII). (Danmarks Tekniske Museum 000091, CC BY http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

The engine in the front (1920s)

The vintage era lasted from the end of World War I (1918), through the Wall Street Crash at the end of 1929. During this period, the front-engined car came to dominate, with closed bodies and standardised controls becoming the norm. In 1919, 90% of cars sold were open; by 1929, 90% were closed. Development of the internal combustion engine continued rapidly, with multi-valve and overhead camshaft engines produced at the high end, and V8, V12, and even V16 engines conceived those who could afford it. Also in 1919, hydraulic brakes were invented by Malcolm Loughead (co-founder of Lockheed); they were used by Duesenberg for its 1921 Model A. Three years later, Hermann Rieseler of Vulcan Motor invented the first automatic transmission, which had a two-speed planetary gearbox, a torque converter, and a lockup clutch. However, it never entered the production stage, and a similar model with the same features would only enter the market in 1940. Just at the end of the vintage era, tempered glass (now standard equipment in side windows) was invented in France. In this era the revolutionary ponton design of cars without fully articulated fenders, running boards and other non-compact ledge elements, was introduced in small series but a mass production of such cars came many years later (after WWII). (Danmarks Tekniske Museum 000091, CC BY http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

Preston everywhere (1920s)

This is an image of the Austin 7, produced between 1922 and 1939. The Austin Seven was one of the most widely copied vehicles ever, serving as a template for cars around the world, from BMW to Nissan. Many of today's modern innovations have branched from a man named Preston Tucker, who designed the Tucker 48. Preston Tucker posed his idea of an American-made vehicle in the 1920s and was the man who inspired the idea of a rear-motor, and individual torque converters and went on designing a safety car with innovative features and modern styling. Despite the competitors he was facing, he went on making a water cooled aluminium block, flat-6 rear, disc brakes, four-wheel independent suspension, fuel injection, the location of all instruments within reach of the steering wheel, seat belts, and a padded dashboard. Preston Tucker was the first man to make an eight-cylinder Sedan that would reach an average of 20 miles per gallon. Preston Tucker had introduced his innovative car to the market at a price of only $4,000. Preston Tucker was the basis of many automotive innovations in the 1920s and had only succeeded in making 50 of these vehicles. Between 1922 and 1925 the number of US passenger car builders decreased from 175 to 70. H. A. Tarantous, managing editor of MoToR Member Society of Automotive Engineers, in a New York Times article from 1925 gave this explanation: Many manufacturers were unable to "keep pace with the bigger production units" and falling prices, especially for the "lower-priced car, commonly called the coach, which takes its name from the Hungarian word “kocsi” meaning "of Koch" – the Hungarian city where coaches were first made. Apart from the higher demand for smaller cars, Tarantous mentions the "pyroxylin finish", the eight cylinder engine, the four wheel brakes and balloon tires as the biggest trends for 1925. (National Library of Wales (WlAbNL)003366279, 10107/1503584, llgc-id:1503584, vtls003471646, CC BY-NC-SA, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/)

Preston everywhere (1920s)

This is an image of the Austin 7, produced between 1922 and 1939. The Austin Seven was one of the most widely copied vehicles ever, serving as a template for cars around the world, from BMW to Nissan. Many of today's modern innovations have branched from a man named Preston Tucker, who designed the Tucker 48. Preston Tucker posed his idea of an American-made vehicle in the 1920s and was the man who inspired the idea of a rear-motor, and individual torque converters and went on designing a safety car with innovative features and modern styling. Despite the competitors he was facing, he went on making a water cooled aluminium block, flat-6 rear, disc brakes, four-wheel independent suspension, fuel injection, the location of all instruments within reach of the steering wheel, seat belts, and a padded dashboard. Preston Tucker was the first man to make an eight-cylinder Sedan that would reach an average of 20 miles per gallon. Preston Tucker had introduced his innovative car to the market at a price of only $4,000. Preston Tucker was the basis of many automotive innovations in the 1920s and had only succeeded in making 50 of these vehicles. Between 1922 and 1925 the number of US passenger car builders decreased from 175 to 70. H. A. Tarantous, managing editor of MoToR Member Society of Automotive Engineers, in a New York Times article from 1925 gave this explanation: Many manufacturers were unable to "keep pace with the bigger production units" and falling prices, especially for the "lower-priced car, commonly called the coach, which takes its name from the Hungarian word “kocsi” meaning "of Koch" – the Hungarian city where coaches were first made. Apart from the higher demand for smaller cars, Tarantous mentions the "pyroxylin finish", the eight cylinder engine, the four wheel brakes and balloon tires as the biggest trends for 1925. (National Library of Wales (WlAbNL)003366279, 10107/1503584, llgc-id:1503584, vtls003471646, CC BY-NC-SA, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/)

Tatra (1934)

The Czechoslovakian Tatra 77 (T77) was the first serial-produced truly aerodynamically designed automobile. It was developed by Hans Ledwinka and Paul Jaray, the Zeppelin aerodynamic engineer. Launched in 1934, the Tatra 77 is a coach-built automobile constructed on a central tube-steel chassis and is powered by a 75 horsepower (56 kW) rear-mounted 3.4-liter air-cooled V8 engine. A number of designers around the world was trying to construct an aerodynamic car at the time, but Tatra was the first one to successfully introduce it into serial production. There were numerous reasons why Tatra designers took such a revolutionary approach to the conception of the new car: first of all it was the aim to reduce drag, mostly air-drag, which increases with the square of speed. A car with a common body shape of the era needed a very powerful engine to reach higher speeds. The Tatra's new body shape was wind tunnel tested. However, the new type of coach building required a change of the whole concept of the car. (National Library of the Netherlands - Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Rights reserved - Free access http://www.europeana.eu/rights/rr-f/)

Tatra (1934)

The Czechoslovakian Tatra 77 (T77) was the first serial-produced truly aerodynamically designed automobile. It was developed by Hans Ledwinka and Paul Jaray, the Zeppelin aerodynamic engineer. Launched in 1934, the Tatra 77 is a coach-built automobile constructed on a central tube-steel chassis and is powered by a 75 horsepower (56 kW) rear-mounted 3.4-liter air-cooled V8 engine. A number of designers around the world was trying to construct an aerodynamic car at the time, but Tatra was the first one to successfully introduce it into serial production. There were numerous reasons why Tatra designers took such a revolutionary approach to the conception of the new car: first of all it was the aim to reduce drag, mostly air-drag, which increases with the square of speed. A car with a common body shape of the era needed a very powerful engine to reach higher speeds. The Tatra's new body shape was wind tunnel tested. However, the new type of coach building required a change of the whole concept of the car. (National Library of the Netherlands - Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Rights reserved - Free access http://www.europeana.eu/rights/rr-f/)

Volkswagen (1938)

The German car of the common people of the 1940s. Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) gave Henry Ford a medal for making cars affordable. Inspired by the Model-T Ford, Hitler asked the German car-maker Dr Ferdinard Porsche to develop a simple people's car or "Volks Wagen" called the KDF (Kraft durch Freude or Strength through Joy). Renamed to Beetle, it sold over 20 million worldwide and is one of the most popular cars of the 20th century. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library dmg:37851023, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Volkswagen (1938)

The German car of the common people of the 1940s. Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) gave Henry Ford a medal for making cars affordable. Inspired by the Model-T Ford, Hitler asked the German car-maker Dr Ferdinard Porsche to develop a simple people's car or "Volks Wagen" called the KDF (Kraft durch Freude or Strength through Joy). Renamed to Beetle, it sold over 20 million worldwide and is one of the most popular cars of the 20th century. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library dmg:37851023, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

1940s

Automobile design and production emerged from its military orientation and from other shadows of war in 1949, the year that in the United States the introduction of high-compression V8 engines and modern bodies from General Motors' Oldsmobile and Cadillac brands took place. Cadillac produced the first American V8 engine in a production vehicle, the 1914 L-Head. It was a sophisticated unit with cast iron paired closed-head cylinders bolted to an aluminium crankcase, and it used a flat-plane crankshaft. Automobile manufacturer Peerless followed, introducing a V8 licensed from amusement park manufacturer, and Herschell-Spillman the next year. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library dmg:37881023, CC BY-NC-ND, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

1940s

Automobile design and production emerged from its military orientation and from other shadows of war in 1949, the year that in the United States the introduction of high-compression V8 engines and modern bodies from General Motors' Oldsmobile and Cadillac brands took place. Cadillac produced the first American V8 engine in a production vehicle, the 1914 L-Head. It was a sophisticated unit with cast iron paired closed-head cylinders bolted to an aluminium crankcase, and it used a flat-plane crankshaft. Automobile manufacturer Peerless followed, introducing a V8 licensed from amusement park manufacturer, and Herschell-Spillman the next year. (Digital Mechanism and Gear Library dmg:37881023, CC BY-NC-ND, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

The rise of Japanese cars (1960s)

The market changed in the 1960s, as the U.S. "Big Three" car manufacturers began to face competition from imported cars, the European makers adopted advanced technologies, and Japan emerged as a car-producing nation. Japanese companies began to export some of their more popular selling cars in Japan internationally, such as the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Corona, Nissan Sunny, and Nissan Bluebird in the mid-1960s. Competition increased with Studebaker, a pioneering manufacturer, shutting down as the trend for consolidation reached Italy where manufacturers like Maserati, Ferrari, and Lancia were acquired by larger companies. By the end of the decade, the number of automobile brands had been greatly reduced. Technological developments included the widespread use of independent suspensions, a wider application of fuel injection, and an increasing focus on safety in the design of an automobile. (Ajuntament de Girona 557300, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

The rise of Japanese cars (1960s)

The market changed in the 1960s, as the U.S. "Big Three" car manufacturers began to face competition from imported cars, the European makers adopted advanced technologies, and Japan emerged as a car-producing nation. Japanese companies began to export some of their more popular selling cars in Japan internationally, such as the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Corona, Nissan Sunny, and Nissan Bluebird in the mid-1960s. Competition increased with Studebaker, a pioneering manufacturer, shutting down as the trend for consolidation reached Italy where manufacturers like Maserati, Ferrari, and Lancia were acquired by larger companies. By the end of the decade, the number of automobile brands had been greatly reduced. Technological developments included the widespread use of independent suspensions, a wider application of fuel injection, and an increasing focus on safety in the design of an automobile. (Ajuntament de Girona 557300, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Citroën ds (1970s)

The 1970s were turbulent years for car manufacturers and buyers with major events reshaping the industry such as the 1973 oil crisis, stricter automobile emissions control and safety requirements, increasing exports by the Japanese and European manufacturers, as well as growth in inflation and the stagnant economic conditions in many nations. Smaller-sized cars grew in popularity. The U.S. saw the establishment of the subcompact segment with the introduction of the AMC Gremlin, followed by the Chevrolet Vega and Ford Pinto. The station wagons (estate, break, kombi, universal) design was popular. In addition, the sales of non-commercial all-wheel drive off-road vehicles increased. This is a picture of the Citroën DS with aerodynamic design and innovative technology, that was awarded a third place as Car of the 20th Century. (Hellenic Aggregator and Veria Public Library 11609/001-03332, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/gr/deed.el)

Citroën ds (1970s)

The 1970s were turbulent years for car manufacturers and buyers with major events reshaping the industry such as the 1973 oil crisis, stricter automobile emissions control and safety requirements, increasing exports by the Japanese and European manufacturers, as well as growth in inflation and the stagnant economic conditions in many nations. Smaller-sized cars grew in popularity. The U.S. saw the establishment of the subcompact segment with the introduction of the AMC Gremlin, followed by the Chevrolet Vega and Ford Pinto. The station wagons (estate, break, kombi, universal) design was popular. In addition, the sales of non-commercial all-wheel drive off-road vehicles increased. This is a picture of the Citroën DS with aerodynamic design and innovative technology, that was awarded a third place as Car of the 20th Century. (Hellenic Aggregator and Veria Public Library 11609/001-03332, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/gr/deed.el)

The end of the us and European domination of the market (1980s)

This is a picture of a Nissan from the late 1980s. American and European car firms dominated the production roughly until the 1970s. Then Japanese upstarts such as Nissan, Honda, Mazda, and Toyota began to seriously compete with them by exporting cheap cars to the West. For a time, countries like the United States and Britain fought off these imports. So the Japanese went further and began to export their factories instead. (Ajuntament de Girona 530404, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

The end of the us and European domination of the market (1980s)

This is a picture of a Nissan from the late 1980s. American and European car firms dominated the production roughly until the 1970s. Then Japanese upstarts such as Nissan, Honda, Mazda, and Toyota began to seriously compete with them by exporting cheap cars to the West. For a time, countries like the United States and Britain fought off these imports. So the Japanese went further and began to export their factories instead. (Ajuntament de Girona 530404, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Globalisation (1990s – 2000s)

Car manufacturers were used to compete; but from the 1990s onwards they started to cooperate. In the world of "globalisation", big companies and their brands operate beyond national borders. New cars are expensive to design so manufacturers in different countries worked together to reduce the costs. A Renault made in France might use exactly the same chassis, engine, or bodywork as a Nissan made in Japan. Another example of globalisation is when a car plant in one country builds vehicles for more than one maker. Toyota and General Motors jointly run a factory like this in Fremont, California making parts for Toyotas, Pontiacs and Chevrolets. The British car industry once employed over a million people and was the world's second-biggest producer after the United States. Today, the only big car brands left in Britain are run by Japanese firms and the once great names of the British car industry—Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Bentley and Aston Martin—are owned by parties abroad too. In this picture, a Renault Kangoo is depicted: a product of partnership between Nissan and Renault. (Centro de Documentación de Fundación Mapfre CC BY-NC-ND, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Globalisation (1990s – 2000s)

Car manufacturers were used to compete; but from the 1990s onwards they started to cooperate. In the world of "globalisation", big companies and their brands operate beyond national borders. New cars are expensive to design so manufacturers in different countries worked together to reduce the costs. A Renault made in France might use exactly the same chassis, engine, or bodywork as a Nissan made in Japan. Another example of globalisation is when a car plant in one country builds vehicles for more than one maker. Toyota and General Motors jointly run a factory like this in Fremont, California making parts for Toyotas, Pontiacs and Chevrolets. The British car industry once employed over a million people and was the world's second-biggest producer after the United States. Today, the only big car brands left in Britain are run by Japanese firms and the once great names of the British car industry—Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Bentley and Aston Martin—are owned by parties abroad too. In this picture, a Renault Kangoo is depicted: a product of partnership between Nissan and Renault. (Centro de Documentación de Fundación Mapfre CC BY-NC-ND, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/)

Modern era

There are some technical aspects and aspects of design that differentiate modern cars from antiques. The modern era has been an era of increasing standardisation, platform sharing, and computer-aided design. Body styles have changed as well in the modern era. Three types, the hatchback, sedan, and the sports car, dominate today's market. The modern era is also characterised by a rapidly rising fuel efficiency and engine output. The automobile emissions concerns have been eased with computerised engine management systems. The economic crisis of 2008 cut almost a third of light vehicle sales from Chrysler, Toyota, Ford and Nissan. It also subtracted around a fourth of Honda's sales and about a seventh of sales from General Motors. Since 2009, China has become the world's leading car manufacturer with a production greater than Japan, the United States and all of Europe. This is a picture of a Toyota Corolla. The Toyota Corolla’s birth was in 1966 and it still exists. Off course the model has changed a lot. It is hard to imagine that one of the older versions was one of the world's best-selling models. (Hellenic Aggregator and Veria Public Library 11609/001-02136, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/gr/deed.el)

Modern era

There are some technical aspects and aspects of design that differentiate modern cars from antiques. The modern era has been an era of increasing standardisation, platform sharing, and computer-aided design. Body styles have changed as well in the modern era. Three types, the hatchback, sedan, and the sports car, dominate today's market. The modern era is also characterised by a rapidly rising fuel efficiency and engine output. The automobile emissions concerns have been eased with computerised engine management systems. The economic crisis of 2008 cut almost a third of light vehicle sales from Chrysler, Toyota, Ford and Nissan. It also subtracted around a fourth of Honda's sales and about a seventh of sales from General Motors. Since 2009, China has become the world's leading car manufacturer with a production greater than Japan, the United States and all of Europe. This is a picture of a Toyota Corolla. The Toyota Corolla’s birth was in 1966 and it still exists. Off course the model has changed a lot. It is hard to imagine that one of the older versions was one of the world's best-selling models. (Hellenic Aggregator and Veria Public Library 11609/001-02136, CC BY-NC-ND http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/gr/deed.el)