Automobiles have been dominating our world for many, many decades now, and there still seem to be more and more of them each year, as they get more affordable for all people. When they were invented for the first time at the end of the 19th century, they were viewed with suspicion by many and with surprise by some; they were to be luxury items for some time to come, so only the rich could afford them, replacing their carriages with them. In America, Ford automobiles were already a brand name, whereas in Europe, men like Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz introduced innovations and made their cars faster than ever, with their fourstroke internal combustion engine. Nowadays we read car news and reviews like it’s one of the most normal things in the world, but not so long ago, there was a time when cars were a rare occurrence that shocked and surprised. The following is an automobile timeline in great achievements, showing in broad strokes how the industry developed.
You might say that an automobile timeline is full of great achievements and technological innovations, and that is true; but space doesn’t allow us to relay a full history of the automobile industry, so we are just going to give you the major facts:
- 1901 – The development of the telescope shock absorber: This invention, which is still used today, was developed by C.L. Horock, and it allowed cars to ride smoother and absorb some of the shock on the road, thus providing a much more comfortable experience for people.
- 1902 – Renault invents the standard drum brakes – While a year before the Olds automobile factory is established and the first signs of mass production appeared, in 1902, Louis Renault created the drum brakes, which are still a standard for rear wheels although the disc brakes were invented in the 1970s.
- 1908 – General Motor appears – This is the year that William Durant established what is today the greatest name in the automobile industry, the biggest corporation today, manufacturing both automobiles and auto parts.
- 1908 – Model T Ford – The same year saw the launch of the Model T., or Tin Lizzie, which was the first automobile that almost everyone could afford and which was manufactured in 10,660 cars in the first year.
- 1911 – The electric starter – This moment in our automobile timeline is very important, because it saw the creation of the electric starter, which introduced a new era in the industry; up until this moment, cars were started by hand cranking, but this innovation allowed drivers to start cars by key.
- 1913 – First assembly line – While up to this point car manufacturing was done manually by individual workers, the year 1913 brought on the first assembly line at Ford Motor Company. This made the workers’ jobs more efficient because it brought the car parts to them instead of having them walk around the factory for each part needed. Thus, in 1914, it was able to produce over 300,000 vehicles.
- 1931 – Front suspension system – Lots of innovations occurred between these two years, such as the invention of the first American car with four-wheel hydraulic brakes, the first car body made from steel, or the first power steering system. The front suspension system however, introduced by Mercedes-Benz, allowed cars to be steered much easier and made the ride smoother.
- 1935 – Flashing turn signals – Innovations in the auto industry were about safety as well, and the flashing turn signals helped that happen.
- 1939 – Air conditioning – The first air conditioning system is attached to a car by the Nash Motor Company.
- 1950s – Cruise control – This is truly one of the greatest achievements in the field, introduced and developed by a bind man who sensed that cars that rode at different meant an increased chance for accidents. His cruise control helped the driver maintain constant speed and monitor it, thus driving safer. Today, cruise control is a common feature on 70% of all cars.
- 1960s – Fewer emissions – The 60s saw an upsurge in consciousness and concern for the environment, which is why this decade sees the inception of an interest in reducing car emissions.
- 1970s – Airbags everywhere – The airbags were invented at the beginning of this decade, but they were initially put on the driver’s side only; later on, more and more cars started featuring this safety measure, which was introduced for other parts of the car as well, thus protecting all passengers. This same decade saw an increase in oil prices, which is why a need for fuel-efficient car developed.
- 1980s – Antilock Braking System – While the beginning of this decade came with the popularization of “just in time” auto parts by the Japanese – which reduced costs by eliminated warehousing needs – , the latter part came with an invention we take today for granted: the Antilock Braking System, or ABS which senses hydraulic pressure and wheel movement and prevents the wheels from locking.
- 1992 – Alternative-fuel vehicles – The Energy Policy act of 1992 is passed, in which the government encourages the creation and manufacture of energy-efficient cars; this results in the use of natural gas, or a combination of conventional fuel and battery power to fuel cars. Thus, the era of hybrid and electric cars begins.
This short automobile timeline shows us how cars evolved over the years, and how people or companies from around the world contributed to all these changes. The history of the automobile is still forming, and thanks to the car news and reviews, we will maintain a good knowledge of this important evolution and how it shapes our world. This industry has already changed so much, so who knows what the future reserves?