The Evolution of the Automobile
The official definition of an automobile is “a passenger vehicle designed for operation on ordinary roads and typically having four wheels and a gasoline or diesel internal-combustion engine” (Merriam-Webster 51). There is no one person accredited for the invention of the automobile, but rather a collection of advancements that evolved into the modern-day automobile (Smith 12). Today, there are approximately 600 million passenger vehicles in existence worldwide, with numbers rapidly increasing in emerging economic “power countries”, such as China and India (Smith 23). A Flemish man named Ferdinand Verbiest introduced the first design for a self-propelled vehicle in 1672, in China, nearly one hundred years before the first internal combustion engine (Smith 25). From the late seventeenth century to the early nineteenth century, a series of vehicles, all propelled by steam, were constructed and demonstrated worldwide (Smith 34). The steam car was a superior machine in the nineteen hundreds (Smith 34). Steam cars were responsible for everyday travel, commercial transportation and even held land speed records (Smith36). It wasn’t until 1807 that the world’s first internal combustion engine was created, in France, by Nicephore Niepce (Smith 36). Another leader in the creation of the internal combustion engine was Francois Issac de Rivaz, who revolutionized the fuel that the engines ran on (Smith 36). Early automobiles powered by internal combustion engine ran on fuel made of powered and coal mixed with oil or a mixture of elements, such as hydrogen and oxygen (Smith 36). In 1824, and Englishman named Samuel Brown adapted the steam engine to burn gasoline and created the first gas vacuum engine (Smith 38). Sir Dougald Clerk, of Scotland, was accredited in 1876 for designing the first successful two-stroke engine (Smith39). In 1890, Wilhelm Mayback created the first four-cylinder, four-stroke engine (Smith39). Everything changed in...
Cited: Anderson, Curtis Darrel, and Judy Anderson. Electric and Hybrid Cars: A History. Chicago: McFarland, 2010. Print.
Corbett, David. A History of Cars. New York: Gareth Stevens Publishers, 2005. Print.
Merriam-Webster, Inc., . Merriam-Webster 's Collegiate Dictionary. 11th. New York: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003. Print.
Smith, Kaelyn. A Brief History of Automobiles. New York: Webster 's Digital Services, 2011. Print.
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