Even if the car wasn’t invented in America per se, the country’s automotive industry has had a significant impact on the methods employed by the sector as a whole. The utilization of the assembly line, which was created by Ford to construct the Model T, is arguably the most significant innovation to come out of the American auto industry.
Speaking of which, despite popular belief, the Model T was not the first automobile produced in the United States. Before the Model T, there were a number of American-made automobiles, but the Model T was the first to genuinely be within the means of the vast majority of Americans.
What Kind of Car Did America Build First?
Since it depends on what you define as an automobile, this is a somewhat complicated subject. Although cars with steam engines were around much longer than those with gasoline engines, you might not think of steam cars as true automobiles by today’s standards.
Let’s examine a handful of the cars that have been produced over the years that might qualify as the first automobiles produced in America.
Historical Steam Vehicles
Because powered vehicles have evolved significantly since they were first developed, it can be challenging to define exactly what qualifies as a car. However, if you’re prepared to be a bit lenient with your definition, you could contend that Oliver Evans’ Oruktor Amphibolos, which he built in Philadelphia in 1805, was the first American automobile.
In fact, the Orukter Amphibolos was the first self-propelled vehicle to be created in the United States, despite the fact that it was very different from any car you are undoubtedly accustomed to. The Oruktor Amphibolos, as its name suggests, was an amphibious vehicle that was powered by a steam engine; the automobile was effectively a paddle boat on wheels.
Unfortunately, the Oruktor Amphibolos was neither particularly good as a car nor a boat; it was completely huge, very slow, and not very reliable. The massive 17 tonnes Oruktor Amphibolos measured 12 feet wide by 30 feet long. Evans’ innovation never really took off because of these factors, as well as the fact that he was regarded as being a fairly unlikable individual.
Roper, Dudgeon, and Spencer, among other American manufacturers of steam vehicles, were established in the following decades. The designs of these businesses’ cars were far more resemblant to the cars we are familiar with today, even though they weren’t quite able to bring steam power into the automotive mainstream.
Early Gasoline-Powered Cars
It goes without saying that no one drives a car nowadays with a steam engine; instead, gasoline engines are the norm. This is the first car you’ll really be interested in if you believe that the internal combustion engine was the true catalyst for the development of the automobile.
Who then created the first gasoline-powered car in America? Some people believe the New Yorker George B. Selden’s patent for the first gasoline-powered automobile in America. Selden’s design was among the first of its sort, but he never put his automobile into production, making it difficult to establish whether Selden is the first American to invent the gasoline car.
The Real History of the American Automobile
In other words, Selden wasn’t the first American to actually build an automobile with a gasoline engine; he was only the first to design one. Who, then, was the genuine owner of this claim to fame?
The Duryea Motor Wagon Company was established by the brothers in 1896 after they completed and tested their first automobile in 1893. The Duryea Motor Wagon Company was undoubtedly the first American automobile manufacturer, even though the brothers’ car may not have been the first American automobile in the strictest sense.