What’s a car?
According to Wikipedia, a car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation (Car).
According to Oxford Dictionary, a car is a four-wheeled road vehicle that is powered by an engine and is able to carry a small number of people.
Etymologically speaking, the word “car” comes from Germanic languages “Karr” (chariot), and probably from Greek khouros or Latin currere … to run, move quickly.
Many people believe Carl Benz should be credited for inventing the first “car” in 1885 -1886. Why? Because his invention was a (1) practical, (2) reliable (3) gasoline powered (4) internal combustion engine car.
The anecdote says that Carl Benz didn’t believe his invention (Benz Patent Motorwagen) was reliable enough to hit the road.
On the morning of August 5, 1888, Bertha Benz and her two oldest sons quietly left their house while Carl lay asleep. Bertha left a note on the kitchen table informing Carl they were leaving to visit her mother in Pforzheim some 60 miles away, but failed to mention how they were getting there. The trio then entered Carl’s workshop and pushed one of his Benz Patent-Motorwagens down the road so that Carl would not be awakened.
Coincidentally, Bertha is photographed at that moment.
And here’s the coloured version….
The pictures are probably fake ! Shoes with rubber soles have only been invented in 1892. Would you dare to use a head scarf so close to an open engine?
Jean J. Lenoir (1822 – 1900) was an engineer who developed the first internal combustion engine in 1858.
Lenoir is said to be French-Belgian. However, he was granted the French citizenship in 1870 and Belgium didn’t exist yet in 1822. Lenoir was thus from Luxembourg.
Somewhere around 1860 – 1863, Lenoir builds the Hippomobile. This vehicle covered 11 km. It’s an automobile made from wood!
Interestingly enough, steam carriages had been around for almost one century. The earliest steam-powered car we know about was finished as early as 1769 by French inventor Nicolas Cugnot. He called it the “Fardier à vapeur” (steam dray). The vehicle was unstable and there was an explosion risk. Something you would expect from the first car.
You will note that the Fardier à Vapeur, the Hippomobile and Benz Patent Motorwagen are all tricycles.
The Fardier à vapeur has the engine in the front in contradiction to the Benz Patent Motorwagen.
Some may argue that the Fardier à vapeur was just a carriage with an engine. Well, that’s what Daimler and Maybach did after Benz…. they just added an engine to a carriage. Carriage makers were probably involved in the early days of the car industry.
Looking at the following locomotive on wheels, we understand that the steam engine lies at the heart of the automobile revolution.
Cugnot may also have inspired the first American super hero … the Steam Man
I think we can give credits to Nicolas Cugnot for inventing the first ‘human scale’ automobile and maybe the first car … and it’s made of wood.
Wood is one of the most abundant biopolymer composites on earth. The major biopolymers in wood are cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin which account for >90% of dry weight.
Technically speaking, wood is a (natural) bio-composite and is constituted of biopolymers. Technically speaking, a car made of wood is a car made of biopolymers and biocomposite.
The first car made from a biocomposite and biopolymers dates back to 1769!
In your face Henry Ford!