Sometimes it’s too easy to forget about the reliable vehicles that we hop into every day, and take them for granted. We’ve forgotten the intricacies of travel that existed before the car, and the limitations that lessened our mobility, and let it slip from our memory the ensuing social and economic effects that followed. We can now go anywhere we want, any time we want, and no longer have to fear the distances that separate us from our loved ones. So let’s take a look at the history of the automobile and be thankful that we aren’t still riding around with a horse-drawn cart.
17th – 18th Century
Ferdinand Verbiest built the first vehicle in 1672 – though not originally as the automobile that we recognise now. Instead of for transportation of people and objects as we use the car for now, the steam-powered vehicle that Verbiest built was instead for the amusement of the Chinese Emperor, as a tiny little toy.
This vehicle, though looking more like an oversized pram than automobile, is considered to be the first proper electric car. The FlockenElektrowagen as named by German inventor Andreas Flocken, proved popular for a while, but the lack of a long-term battery prevented travel over a long period of time or distance. We were still working towards our modern day counterparts…
Henry Ford was the man to praise. Working on the ethos that consumerism belonged to the masses - and not just the elite and the upper class - he lowered the price of his automobiles and paid his employees wages to a high enough degree so that they could afford the very cars they were working with.
For the first time, cars were readily available and the effects were rapidly seen: people no longer lived in confined groups near rail stations or other places of commute, communities separated more than fifteen miles from each other could now become connected, and jobs became more accessible as distance proved to be a conquerable concept.
(Fiat 124 Spider)
And finally, we’ve reached the car 2017 fiat 124-spider that we all know and recognise. The modern era has honed the vehicle towards a higher standard to improve both the design and efficiency. Concepts such as the four-wheel drive and the diesel engine have become commonplace, shared by all modern cars; names such as Toyota, Fiat and BMW just as familiar as Ford. Cars have become firmly entrenched into our daily life and though rarely all of us have the immediate means for to purchase one, cars are available to everyone with the right funding. Whether through loans from a bank or financing from car credit providers who overlook foibles such as bad credit history, automobiles have become an affordable purchase given enough time and effort. Henry Ford’s vision, generally speaking, has been achieved.
(The General Motors Hy-wire hydrogen car)
Look forward to these green (environmentally speaking), lean, speed machines that we all might be driving in the near future…