The History of Automobiles


Automobiles are powered by an internal combustion engine that uses a fuel to turn a piston which powers the wheels of the car. Most automobiles use gasoline (petrol), but others can be powered by diesel or kerosene. The automobile revolutionized American life by giving people more freedom and access to jobs and services. It also brought new industries, such as those producing parts for automobiles, and services such as gas stations and convenience stores.

The invention of the automobile allowed families to spend more time together and travel to new places. Families could leave the city and rediscover pristine landscapes in the countryside. The automobile encouraged teenagers to drive, and it facilitated relaxed sexual attitudes among couples who drove together. As a result, roadside diners emerged where drivers could buy fast food and drink on the way to their destination.

Some early 20th century authors decried the automobile age in books such as Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons, but other writers promoted its benefits. Writers such as Dorothy Levitt wrote novels about female automobilists.

By the 1920s automobile technology had progressed a great deal and was advancing rapidly. Henry Ford developed the assembly line, which made it much cheaper to make cars. This was the start of mass production, and the automobile became affordable to the average American family. Today, automobiles continue to be developed and refined. They now include safety features such as seat belts and airbags, and they are able to travel faster than ever before thanks to advanced engines.