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A history of cars and automobiles in the united states

The Age of the Automobile Cruising in automobiles such as the Duesenberg pictured above was popular in America, but this typically Sunday afternoon family past time was largely discontinued during the depression. Perhaps no invention affected American everyday life in the 20th century more than the automobile.

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Although the technology for the automobile existed in the 19th century, it took Henry Ford to make the useful gadget accessible to the American public. Ford used the idea of the assembly line for automobile manufacturing.

Furthermore, they might use their higher earnings to purchase a new car. Ford reduced options, even stating that the public could choose whatever color car they wanted — so long as it was black.

By 1920, there were over 8 million registrations.

The 1920s saw tremendous growth in automobile ownership, with the number of registered drivers almost tripling to 23 million by the end of the decade. Economic Spin-offs The growth of the automobile industry caused an economic revolution across the United States. Dozens of spin-off industries blossomed.

Other European developments

Of course the demand for vulcanized rubber skyrocketed. Road construction created thousands of new jobs, as state and local governments began funding highway design. Motorsports Hall of Fame The famous 'Ford 999' racer from 1902.

  1. Freedom of choice encouraged many family vacations to places previously impossible. Library of Congress, Washington, D.
  2. In March 1863 the magazine Scientific American described tests of a vehicle that weighed only 650 pounds about 300 kg and achieved a speed of 20 miles 30 km per hour.
  3. It was the British Mini , designed by Sir Alec Issigonis and sold under both Austin and Morris names, that pioneered the front-drive concept as it is now known.

Although it is not the first race car ever built, it is certainly the first car to rise to the status of legend. Even the federal government became involved with the Federal Highway Act of 1921.

Gas stations began to dot the land, and mechanics began to earn a living fixing the inevitable problems.

Oil and steel were two well-established industries that received a serious boost by the demand for automobiles. Travelers on the road needed shelter on long trips, so motels began to line the major long-distance routes.

  • Oddly, Benz and Daimler never met;
  • Ultimately they came in a variety of designs—from the mundane to the ultramodern—literally creating an automobile-oriented landscape quite unique from what had come before.

Even cuisine was transformed by the automobile. The quintessential American foods — hamburgers, french fries, milk shakes, and apple pies — were hallmarks of the new roadside diner.

Drivers wanted cheap, relatively fast food so they could be on their way in a hurry.

Unfortunately, as new businesses flourished, old ones decayed. When America opted for the automobile, the nation's rails began to be neglected. As European nations were strengthening mass transit systems, individualistic Americans invested in the automobile infrastructure.

Effects of the Automobile The social effects of the automobile were as great. Freedom of choice encouraged many family vacations to places previously impossible.

  1. Although it is not the first race car ever built, it is certainly the first car to rise to the status of legend. The Essex coach, a no-frills two-door sedan introduced in 1922 by the Hudson Motor Car Company, reduced the cost of sheltered motoring to that of a touring car.
  2. The first such car to sell in any quantity was the Toyota Corona , introduced in 1967. More capable nickel—metal hydride cells were inordinately expensive.
  3. Ford used the idea of the assembly line for automobile manufacturing. Pininfarina of Turin was the best-known of the coach builders who established the characteristic Italian approach.

Urban dwellers had the opportunity to rediscover pristine landscapes, just as rural dwellers were able to shop in towns and cities. Teenagers gained more and more independence with driving freedom. Dating couples found a portable place to be alone as the automobile helped to facilitate relaxed sexual attitudes. Americans experienced traffic jams for the first time, as well as traffic accidents and fatalities.

46a. The Age of the Automobile

Soon demands were made for licensure and safety regulation on the state level. Despite the drawbacks, Americans loved their cars. As more and more were purchased, drivers saw their worlds grow much larger. In 1919, at age 25, he was appointed president of the Ford Motor Company. Following the tradition set by successful businessmen of the previous century, Edsel Ford turned to philanthropy and helped to establish the Ford Foundation.

This website has a brief biography of Edsel Ford and his wife, along with a virtual tour of his house in Michigan.