Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the automobile industry became a major force for change in American society. In the 1920s, it became the largest consumer of many industrial products, including petroleum and steel. In the 1980s, it became a global enterprise.
The development of automobiles began with the invention of the internal combustion engine. Karl Benz was the first person to patent a gas-fueled car. This innovation led to a revolution in car design. In the late nineteenth century, the automobile was perfected in France. The automobile revolutionized the steel industry and the petroleum industry. It also brought better medical care and schools to rural America.
The automobile revolutionized rural America, bringing urban amenities and a better quality of life. The automobile also helped spur growth in tourism.
In 1886, Carl Benz patented his first gas-fueled car. The Daimler-Maybach engine was the first practical internal combustion engine. It consisted of a vertical cylinder and a gasoline-injected carburetor. The engine was small and lightweight. The Daimler automobile could reach 10 mph.
The United States had a higher per capita income than Europe. The higher incomes were responsible for a rise in demand for automobiles. In the United States, automobiles were affordable and could be purchased by middle-class families.
The automobile was the answer to the 19th-century dream of a self-propelling carriage. A bicycle builder named Sylvester Howard Roper developed a similar machine in 1867. In 1895, J. Frank and Charles Duryea designed the first successful American gasoline car.