The long and winding road must have been an uphill climb in the days before automobiles. Leonardo da Vinci played with the concept of transport vehicles in the 15th century, but horse drawn carriages and old, reliable walking remained the most efficient means of transportation. Thankfully, in the late 1700's, inventors concluded, there has to be a better way. For well over two hundred years and counting, the art of transportation has been evolving. With a multitude of patents, inventors, mechanics, and researchers to thank, the modern day, fuel-injected, safety efficient automobile is light years away from the heavy, perilous steam engine powered vehicle of the early days.
There isn't one clear cut inventor to single handedly credit with the invention of the automobile, although there is a wealth of opinions on why certain inventors should receive that credit. Contributions from Scotland"s Robert Anderson, France's Nicholas Cugnot, Germany's Karl Freidrich Benz, and Charles Duryea from the United States helped mold the first automobiles to provide genuine transportation.
Once the concept of automotive transportation had been realized, the next effort went into ways to produce those vehicles. These were the days long before standardized parts, so mass tooling was an issue. Individual parts needed to be of consistent size and material to make the production process more efficient. Skilled labor was the next biggest challenge to enabling every home the opportunity to own an automobile. Henry Ford's vision to build "cars for the great multitude" helped ignite a flood of almost 500 automotive manufacturers into the U.S. market, while Mercedes and Oldsmobile helped fuel the fire worldwide.
Mass producing one of the world's most historical advancements was no small task. The Mercedes folks needed seventeen hundred workers to produce one thousand cars per year. Henry Ford's introduction of the first assembly line in 1913 revolutionized... [continues]
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