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Who Invented The First Car?

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All of our early cars were powered by steam engine and not gasoline. They mainly were used as toys more than a necessity. The excessive costs of the car made it unobtainable by most people when it was first invented. The first toy car was made in 1672 by Ferdinand Verbiest. This man was an inventor and missionary to China, when he created the first, toy car. The name was derived from the Latin word “mobilis”, this means moving fast, and “auto” which means self-propelled. The term car can mean thousands of different types of vehicles today.

A replica of Ferdinand Verbiest's toy carA replica of Ferdinand Verbiest’s toy car. It may be just a toy, but he did sparked our imagination and coined the term auto-mobilis.

The first car to carry humans

In the 18th century, another inventor named Nicolas Cugnot, invented a three wheel car. His insight was amazing at the time, but it was dismissed because it was thought to be not feasible for their time period. You can still find replicas of this unique model in the Conservatoire Arts in Paris.

Ferdinand VerbiestFerdinand Verbiest. © USF Ricci.

The first car with combustible engine

A few other men, William Murdoch and Josef Bozek each also designed steam generated vehicles. Francois Isaac Rivaz was a Swiss inventor and designer that came up with the first car to have a combustible engine. It was invented in 1806, but the car had too many issues and the idea was scrapped again. There was not enough information at that time to create a successful and safe product. It was fueled with both oxygen and hydrogen, both very dangerous fuels.

Sketch of Ferdinand Verbiest's steam car from the 18th centurySketch of Ferdinand Verbiest’s steam car from the 18th century.

The first electric car

There were many other car inventors that were not successful as a whole, but most of them allowed the next inventor enough information to get one step closer to the petrol-fueled, gasoline vehicle. The year of 1881, a designer named Gustave Trouve, not only succeeded building an effective automobile, but he used electricity to power it.

The first gasoline car

Karl Benz saw this invention at an exhibition in Paris and about four years later, he created the first car to be powered solely on gasoline. He manufactured the car in Germany. He was the first to receive a patent, which he received it in 1896. Mr. Benz is widely recognized as the first inventor of the automobile today.

The first 4-stroke, 4-wheel drive car

Within a few years, two other inventors, Gottlieb Daimler and an associate Wilhelm Maybach invented the first 4-stroke,  4-wheel drive automobile.

Widely regarded as the first car, Benz Patent MotorwagenWidely regarded as the first car, Benz Patent Motorwagen, is the first car to go into production with an internal combustion engine. Pic above is a replica. © Softeis.

The first affordable car

In the year of 1903, two brothers created a car company in the US called Ford. Ford is attributed with producing an automobile that allowed every citizen to be able to afford an automobile. It was no longer something just for the wealthy. Everyday blue collar workers could now think about owning their own vehicle. This allowed them the chance to make their days much more enjoyable for travel.

The future of cars

We know today there have been extreme changes to our automobiles. We are now using cars and trucks that can use a very small amount of gasoline and will actually run on charged batteries. So we as a nation, credit manufactures such as Verbiest and Benz for the inventions of our four wheel modes of transportation. Today, our scientist and inventors carry on the tradition to make more economical and safe vehicles for people all over the world.

Related invention: The traffic light.

Machines on 2 wheels: Who invented the motorcycle?

More on cars: Facts about cars.