AP English 12
30 October 2012
From Walking to Rolling
The automobile has changed lives around the world. Suddenly it was far easier to travel. Not only could you make it long distances in a fraction of the time, you could do it more comfortably and safely. It also lead to society as we know it today. Without cars there would be no need for roads as we know them today. There would be no hotels because people wouldn’t be traveling as far as they can today, and we wouldn’t have a scape goat for global warming. The invention and improvement of the automobile has shaped America’s society to be as we know it today. Over the years cars have improved and changed. Some ideas were thrown away and others grew into common household possessions. It all started with the invention of the steam car in the year 1770(“A Brief History”). From that moment we have never stopped improving cars. Cars have become more powerful and more fuel efficient than anyone could have ever imagined in the early days of the automobile. They have improved in many other ways than just fuel efficiency and power, however. There have been vast improvements to safety as well. These improvements have helped kept many drivers safe and comfortable when driving a car.
The invention of the automobile has been the greatest thing to happen to transportation since the invention of the wheel. Joseph Cugnot is credited with creating the first car which he called the Fardier(“A Brief History”). The Fardier is the oldest known self-propelled vehicle. It became so well known and preserved in history because the vehicle ran out of control on one test drive and knocked down a wall(“A Brief History”). The Fardier was followed by a number of much less practical inventions. It wasn’t till 1801 when Richard Trevithick created the first successful road carriage. Trevithick made one carriage he called the London Carriage in 1803. However, that carriage was taken apart to power a loop rolling mill. Other inventors saw the same vision, but they were very far-fetched ideas(“A Brief History”).
The internal combustion engine was invented by two German engineers named Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler in 1889(“Automobile”). It was a 2.5 horsepower, two-cylinder gasoline engine. Benz went on to improve the design using some ideas from the booming cycling industry to strengthen his invention. For the rest of the 19th century the gasoline powered car was not extremely popular in Europe or the United states until 1901. In 1901 the Curved Dash Oldsmobile was built by Ransom E. Olds. This was the first car to be mass produced(“Automobile”). In 1908 Henry Ford started mass producing his Model T cars. He came up with the first assembly line. This idea gave Ford much success and increased productivity and profits. It also lowered the price of his cars(Salois).
Cars since the days of Karl Benz have for the most part used internal combustion engine. The principle behind this type of engine is that if you put a small amount of fuel in an enclosed area and ignite it, the force of the expanding gas forces the piston down. This happening hundreds of times per minute is what the engine is all about. There are four strokes in an internal combustion engine. The first is the intake stroke; this is when the piston moves down taking in a cylinder full of air and gas. The next stroke is the compression stroke. The piston moves up compressing the fuel and air mixture; this compression makes the explosion more powerful. The third stroke is when the explosion occurs. When the piston is at its highest point within the cylinder the spark plug ignites the fuel causing the explosion. The fourth and final stroke happens when the piston reaches the bottom of the cylinder; the exhaust valve opens the fumes to leave through the tailpipe(“How Car Engines Work”).
Some cars, however, do not use an engine, but a battery. Not too many people realize, but the first electric car was actually...