Before the invention of cars people used the means of a horse carriage and walking to get around. A 20 mile trip that ranges from 15 to 25 minutes in a car used to take 4-8 hours to complete even in a horse carriage. These problems were all fixed with the invention of the car. The first car was built in 1885, and although the builder of the first car is unknown, it’s popularly believed to be a German engineer named Karl Benz. Cars have gone a nearly complete transformation ever since the first car. From the type of tires used to the structure of the car itself has changed. For example, this picture shows the first car built, called the Benz Motor Patent Car. As can be seen, if compared with any of the vehicles used today, it looks more like a bicycle then a car. In today’s cars not wooden seats, but comfortable leather seats can be found; nt thin, unsturdy tires, but thick and powerful tires can be found.
The history of cars is a long one, but there are definitely some major highlights I’ve included in this slide. The first car and other cars built based on it were highly expensive at the time and therefore a luxury many couldn’t accord. In fact, cars didn’t go into mass production until Henry Ford created the Model T car shown in this picture in 1908. This car created a revolution because it was an improved version of what was seen before and for an affordable price. Another major event was the introduction of the electric starter to cars by Charles Kettering. If this wasn’t developed, we would’ve been starting our cars with hand cranks instead of our keys. In 1914, Dodge built a car that had a body made entirely out of steel. One can only imagine how unsafe it was to ride in cars prior to this. In 1926, Francis Wright Davis introduced the first power steering system. These are just some of the major improvements made to cars to make it what it is today.
In the following three slides, I will display three examples of how cars have changed over time and in this first example, I’m going to show the huge difference between one of the Dodge’s first cars, Model M Victory Six built in 1928, and the Dodge Durango 2016. The Model M Victory Six is the first car built with a full steel body when most manufacturers used metal and wood. When it comes to performance, Model M has merely 68 horsepower compared to today’s Durango’s 360 horsepower. Model M was also one of the first cars with hydraulic brakes, and Dodge actually used this technology up until the 1998 Dodge Durango even. But this 2016 Dodge Durango has a antilock braking system. This system, invented in 1985, uses computerized sensing of wheel movement and hydraulic pressure to each wheel to adjust pressure so that the wheels continue to move somewhat rather locking up during emergency braking. Ignoring the performance and the abilities of the cars, and just observing these photos one can see how far we’ve come.
The left photograph is of a 1965 Volkswagen Beetle whereas the right picture is of a 2016 Volkswagen Beetle. Although they share similarities till this day such as their similar shape, these two cars have a lot of differences. To begin with, cars in this era didn’t have automatic transmission. Nowadays, we have the choice if we want to drive a car manually or automatically. But cars like the 1965 Volkswagen Beetle had only manual transmission and it was much more difficult for everyone to get used to driving than it is today with the automatic transmission. Thanks to automatic transmission, the safety of many inexperienced drivers were ensured. Another difference is their windows. Windows were already developed by this time where they could be opened and closed at will. However, it was with the means of a crank. Each time you wanted to open a window you had to “roll” it down with the crank. But in today’s cars, like the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle, this could be done with the push of a button. As mentioned before, many of the improvements that cars went through were for convenience of the riders. Also, another change was a major economic one. Old cars used to eat up a lot of fuel, ending up being costly and inconvenient for many. But cars now have smaller fuel tanks and better systems so they can be more economic and affordable. Also, the 1965 model of the car had its engine in the back of the car whereas the 2016 version, like nearly every other car out in the market, has it in the front. It’s a better and safer alternative.
Here is a picture on the left of a 2000 BMW M5 and on the right of a 2016 BMW M5. Although only a decade and a half has passed between these two models, there are a lot differences between them due to the increasing speed of technology. Although cars manufactured in 2000 are cars of very good quality, with sturdy car bodies and long lives, they lack in the technology that we have today. In the year 2000, it would be hard to find cars everywhere with built in televisions in them, or even GPS. Nowadays nearly every car has a built in GPS. Many car manufacturers are even working on cars that are self-driven. A person who purchased a BMW M5 in 2000 couldn’t have imagined such improvements in such a short amount of time. Even the opening of a car has become more convenient. In a car like the 2000 BMW M5 one has to open their car by putting the key in and starting the car by putting the key in, but cars now have features such as a push start, and remotes have been developed in order to open cars from afar.
The invention of cars is one that makes many of us glad it happened. It has had many benefits to society throughout time and continues to do so. For instance, due to the creation of cars many new jobs were created. Car factories and manufacturers were in high demand of new employees, factories that supplies these car companies with the materials they needed were in demand of employees, and it was a chain that kept going. Also, many new ideas were released due to cars. For example, drive-in movies became a huge thing and made a great business, and even today new jobs are being created with ride-sharing applications such as Uber and Lyft that wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for cars. But of course the invention of cars also brought some negative changes. For example, prior to the popular use of the car, families were very conservative and stayed together. When arguments broke out or someone got upset to one another, there wasn’t anywhere to go really. But with the invention of cars old fashioned beliefs of family and unity were forgotten. Anyone could escape from their current surrounding and go off on personal endeavors. People become more rebellious and independent; individuals could now act on their own wishes rather than in the direction the family chose them to do so. Last, but not least, the invention of cars caused many, many deaths. From distracted driving to drinking and driving to minor accidents, these bulky, sturdy steel monsters took people’s lives were easily. Therefore, many changes were made in the law, such as seat belt laws, drinking laws, etc.
As can be seen, cars went through innumerable changes over the years. Some of these changes were amazing, but some unnecessary. Thanks to changes in fuel tank sizes and car mechanic systems, people can get around everywhere affordably. When cars such as the 1965 volkswagen were developed, fuel was a huge problem, because short distances almost took up half of the gas tank. Also, cars today are much, much safer. Since cars are a necessary evil in our lives, we had to find ways to make it a safe option. Cars back then didn’t have air bags, turning signals, steel car frames, etc. With all the technologies today, we can feel much safer going home after work. There are some cars today that even brake on their own when they sense an accident. And one of the most important pros of the changes that took place is the technological aspect of it. To be able to include GPS in cars, radios, TVs, even gaming systems is amazing and fascinating. The observation of the latest cars out just shows how much we’re so far in technology during this millennial. However, there are cons due to cars. For example, people have become very lazy due to cars. No one takes walks anymore, they rely heavily on their cars, and might even refuse to rely on something else due to the comfort they feel with their cars. Also, unnecessary changes such as self-driving cars could do the society more harm than good. With constantly changing roads and traffic laws, a self-driving car isn’t the best idea to have on the road.
As mentioned in my previous slide, self-driving cars are a thing now. The reason they’re not a safe option for the roads right now is because they’re ahead in technology of what the roads can handle. However, I believe self-driving cars, or we can say smart cars, would be perfect for roads that don’t need traffic lights or stop signs. Self-driving cars would be traffic aware and would be already programmed to drive without the need of these things. Also push-start cars are already out, but I imagine them to be on every car very soon for security of the driver. Lastly, I see economic, and fuel-efficient cars to have more of a future than luxurious cars.
As can be seen, the history of the automobile which started in 1885 with Karl Benz has been through a long journey that still has a long way to go. We went from a wooden and metal car to the electric and steel wonders we have today. Who knows what the future has in store for us.