The (brief) history of cars

Have you ever wondered who invented the car? The information is veiled under dense fog, but it is now clear for us to revel at.

The first ever working vehicle was designed by Ferdinand Verbiest for a Chinese emperor. Mind you, it was only a toy and it couldn’t carry people. It was 65 cm long and was steam powered. It may or may not have been built.

The credit of inventing the car (or horseless carriage as it was known then) goes to Nicolas Joseph Cugnot. He created a tricycle that could transport people in 1769. It was powered by a massive boiler. First, coal was stoked into the bottom of the boiler by the means of a door. Then water would be poured in the top of the boiler. The steam from the boiling water would power a piston lodged between the boiler and the seats. The up-down movement of the piston would be converted into circular motion using some other mechanical parts powering the tricycle.The ancient automotive could go at a whopping 5 miles an hour. In it’s first test, the Cugnot mobile broke down and exploded.The problem was that the tricycle’s engine could not harness the power of the steam and would explode. Other problems were overheating, being too heavy and lots of other mishmash you wouldn’t want to know.

The big step forward was when Frenchman Nicepore Niepce and his brother Claude created the world’s first internal combustion engine. They called the engine a pyreolophore. The fuel it used was lycopodium powder from dried spores of a lycopodium plant, fine coal dust and resin that was mixed in oil. First, the fuel would be put in a tank. The fuel would be pushed by a pump that blew the fuel into a combustion chamber. There, the fuel would get lit up and would explode. The shock waves of the explosion would come out of an exhaust pipe and would propel the vehicle. Instead of an automobile, the engine was installed in a boat. The engine propelled the boat by the explosion shock waves (known as pulses at that time) that pushed water and pushed the boat.The design wasn’t very successful but it was the first giant leap for carkind.

If you think that electric cars are modern, think again. French inventor Gustave Trouve made and demonstrated a working electric tricycle at The International Expo of Electricity. He was one of the first people who made an electric vehicle.

The inventor of the first modern car was Karl Benz. He called his three-wheel thingamajig the Benz Motorwagen. This little three-wheeled wonder was powered by a 954 cc four-stroke single cylinder engine that produced a staggering(at that time) 0.9 hp at 400 rpm. The top speed of the tricycle was 10 mph(16 km/h).Then as a test to prove that the Motorwagen was a reliable machine, Benz’s wife, Bertha drove a Benz tricycle for about 194 km in August 1888 and made that feat as an advertisement for the tricycle to display it’s reliability. She was also the first long-distance driver and road tripper.The Motorwagen was a huge success, but more than that was that the age of the modern car had begun.(Kudos to you, Benz!)

For all Subaru fans:

Karl Benz was also the first creator of boxer engines. So for all the die-hard Subaru fans out there, including me, I’m thanking old Benz for creating the wonderful high-revving boxer engine.

So now that the Motorwagen was created, things got a lot bigger. Soon, the tricycle was unveiled to the world. People started making and patenting their own designs. This followed the invention of the diesel engine created by Rudolph Diesel. Henry Ford, Louis Chevrolet and many other famous people really got the wheel moving. Detroit became the mother place of badass muscle cars and big V8s. Fuel efficient cars, racing machines, heavy-duty sluggers and all quiet electric vehicles and all the rest came into being. Soon everyone wanted a car. The car revolutionized this world and all this chaos, inspiration, craze and madness started because of a mere steam powered tricycle.

I will be ending this here now. I will write more posts to satisfy your questions.

Happy driving!


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