The Development of the Automobile

Source: Automobility and the AmericanLife, 1999, Learning Works.


1896

In Springfield Massachusetts, America's first automobile manufacture("Motor Wagons") began production under the commandof Charles and J. Frank Duryea.

1900

The steering wheel took the place of the steering tiller.

1901

Connecticut creates the first statewide traffic laws.

Oil prices go down due to the "Spindletop" gusherin Beaumont, Texas thus causing the gasoline-powered automobileto be the more economical choice. The idea of electric poweredautomobiles was pushed asside.

1906

Alabama sets the maximum speed limits at 8 miles per hour forthe state.

1910

New York introduces the first drunk driving laws.

1911

The electric self-starter replaces the hand-crank.

1913

Model T production goes from 7.5 to 146 cars per hour, dueto the development of the moving assembly line.

Pittsburgh creates the first drive-in gas station.

1914

The Dodge Brothers Company conducts what is known as the beginningof crash testing by driving a car into a brick wall going 20 milesper hour.

1919

Oregon introduces the first gasoline tax.

1921

Dallas has the first drive-in restaurant: The Pig stand.

1922

The first suburban shopping center hits St. Louis.

Denver creates the first specially designed police car witha machine gun located on the hood of the car.

1923

The first paved roadway allows drivers to go from New Yorkto San Francisco: the Lincoln Highway.

Hertz becomes the first national car rental agency.

1924

Radios for cars are introduced.

1925

Motels begin lining roadways.

1926

Antifreeze is created to allow motorists to drive year round.

1933

New Jersey introduces the first drive-in movie theater.

1937

The automatic transmission is brought into the market.

1939

Auto air conditioning is created.

1940

First four-wheel drive all-purpose automobile is made for theAmerican military. It was known as the Gls soon nicknamed theGP a Jeep.

1946

Banks now have drive-through teller windows.

7-Eleven opens first extended-hours convenience store.

1948

First roadside fast-food restaurant: McDonald's, San Bernadino,California.

1949

Levittown, the first prefabricated suburban community, ariseson a one-time potato field in Long Island, New York

1950

The Rambler becomes the first mass-production compact car.

1956

The Interstate Highway Act creates a super highway networkto connect all parts of the nation.

1960

California creates the first auto emissions law.

1962

Wisconsin comes up with the first law regarding the safetybelt as a standard requirement.

The child car seat with safety belt is introduced.

1965

A Motor Vehicle Air Pollution Act causes national standardsto reduce auto emissions.

1967

The Air Quality Act allows the government authority to setclean-air standards for all states.

1974

Air bags are introduced as a new safety option.

1975

The catalytic converter becomes a new standard feature in carsto reduce auto emissions.

1981

The best selling vehicle is the pickup truck.

1982

MADD is formed (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) due to the leadingcause of highway fatalities.

1984

New York creates the first law requiring the use of safetybelts.

1991

Anti-lock brakes become popularized.

1995

GPS (Global Positioning System) is introduced.

1996

Zero-emission electric vehicles are re-introduced into theauto showroom.

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