At the beginning of the 20th century automobiles were for the rich. Most cars were complicated and required a chauffeur to operate. Ford was determined to build a simple, reliable and affordable car. A car the average American could afford. Out of this came the Model T and the assembly line, two innovations that revolutionized America and the world we live in today. The first companies to produce automobiles for the public market came about in 1896. These early auto manufacturers built more electric than gas-powered vehicles, however, when gas-powered engines no longer needed the help of the hand crank, the electric engine lost ground. The 1912 Cadillac was the first vehicle to have an effective self-starting engine. These cars produced during this time were very expensive and were marketed to the wealthy crowd. American culture experienced extreme change as a result of the automobile's entrance into life, beginning in the 1920s. Rural families were no longer isolated from larger cities. Urban Americans used their mobility to escape the city life, at least temporarily. Outdoor hobbies, such as camping, hunting, and fishing gained popularity. The growth of suburban cities was another change in American culture. As more Americans began to commute, businesses moved to city outskirts. Tourism developed as a result of the auto industry. Camp sites and motor lodges, restaurants, and tourist attractions were created to entertain the passing motorists. These activities weren’t as popular until cars came out as many didn’t have any effective mode of transportation before cars came out at reasonable prices.
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