The automobile industry is a giant, serving both public and private sectors of the economy and consuming enumerable amounts of goods used in production, accounting for numerous additional jobs. The complexity of the industry has grown over the years along with the complexity of the products it produces. New means of advertising and other market strategies further complicate this already hugely intricate industry. On top of this, the industry continues to evolve on an almost yearly basis with the introduction of new “essential standard features” that one would not have even considered putting in a car five years earlier.
Despite it’s relatively recent rapid growth in the past 100 ...view middle of the document...
Siegfried Marcus is the Austrian engineer that is noted for this accomplishment. There were many improvements and changes made to the gasoline engine over the years to make it safe, cheap, small, light and powerful enough to be widely put in cars. Such improvements include the development of the four-stroke engine or “Otto Cycle,” changing the type of gas used, using different materials to produce the engines, developing multiple cylinder systems, and later putting those pistons in a V alignment. By the early 1900’s gasoline powered cars began to outsell the previous leader, the electric car.1 And with that the industry began to take shape.
You can’t talk about automotive history without mentioning Henry Ford. Ford incorporated the Ford Motor Company in 1903. His invention and utilization of the assembly line was critical in achieving his goal of “build[ing] a car for the great multitude.” A careful coordination of labor efforts and the dividing of tasks along with the assembly line helped Ford bring the production time of a car from 728 minute, down to 93, drastically reducing production caosts.6 Ford achieved his goal with 19 years of manufacturing the Model T that produced 15,007,033 units with the price ranging over the years from $950 at the start, to as low as $290 in 1924.1 Henry Ford also played a key role in lowering the price of all U.S. produced cars in 1911 when he had the George Selden’s patent for the “road engine,” which he never actually built, overturned by the courts. Prior to this all American car manufactures where forced to pay Selden royalties. The patent was overturned on the grounds that the automobile, that the court had ordered built according to the plans in Selden’s patent, was a failure.6
Other important figures in automobile history include; Karl Benz (the holder of the first patent for a gas-fueled car), Gottllied Daimler (designer of the first four-wheeled automobile), Charles and Frank Duryea (founders of the Duryea Motor Wagon Company, the first company to manufacture and sell gasoline powered vehicles-1896,) Ransom Olds (opened the first automobile factory in Detroit in 1901,) William C. Durant (founder of General Motors, a combination of Buick Cadillac, and Oldsmobile,) and many more.2
In 1902 at least 50 new firms began manufacturing cars in the U.S., but it wasn’t till 1904 that the U.S. surpassed France in the production of automobiles becoming the worlds largest producer. This was a milestone in the history of the American automobile industry that sparked the establishment of more than 240 firms between 1904 and 1908 to manufacture automobiles in the U.S. With all these automobiles being produced and driven it became glaringly apparent that fuel would need to be readily available to car owners if the success was to continue. Sylvanus F. Bowser remedied this problem with the invention of a workable pump for gasoline; he even opened his own “filling station.”1
By 1910 there were...