- About us
- Bus Terminals
- Bus Service
- Departure Schedule
TRAVELOGUE: The Automobile Story
The success story of the automobile started in 1885 when Karl Benz, a German mechanic, successfully tested Mercedez Benz, the first internal combustion automobile. Then, the car was a little different from a wheel chair. Nonetheless, the successful testing of the car was an epoch-making event for it radically revolutionalised transportation. It was not easy for Karl. Like all who tread the unbeaten track, he was derided by his friends. However, when the dream finally became a reality, the table was turned. Karl Benz became a historical figure. Two years later, in 1887, Daimler made his own automobile. Stanley Steamer followed suit in 1897.Opel was manufactured in 1898, Ford in 1908, Rolls Royce in 1922, Chrysler and Citroen in 1934; Volkswagen in 1949 and Cadillac 1958.
There are two ways of interpreting the invention of the automobile viz: the superman interpretation and the interpretation of the invention as the inevitable consequence of striving towards scientific progress. The first interpretation would see Karl Benz as a genius who single-handedly received the idea of the motor car and ingeniously fangled it out. The second theory on the other hand would see Karl Benz as a person who utilized the wealth of knowledge accumulated by various individuals at various points in history to produce something new. This interpretation is more tenable.
Though it was Karl Benz who finally made the first successful car, the evolution of the automobile can be traced far beyond him in history. In fact, it will not be out of place to begin the story of the automobile with the first recorded technology genius � the much famed Archimenedes. He it was who first put the principles of science to practical use. Of him is also said that he made use of the principles of Mathematics to manufacture missiles which he used in the defense of his city against Roman invasion. Henceforth, science was put in the service of art.
This combination of science and art is what is known as technology today.
The industrial revolution which gave birth to the automobile actually took off with the invention of the steam engine by James Watt in 1760. Prior to that, coal, which was the principal source of power, ad to be mined manually and water had to be manually scooped from the mine. However, the invention of the steam engine changed all that. The steam engine was employed later to do these jobs. Though James Watt was principally preoccupied with improving coal mining when he invented the steam engine, it took no time for other inventive people to put it to uses never imagined by Watt himself. First among these ingenious men was Richard Treithick. In 1801, he adapted the steam engine and mounted on a coach; thereby launching the first steam mobile. Oliver Evans successfully repeated the same feat in 1805.
As scientists discovered that a lot of energy is released by explosive gases, they sought to channel this energy to constructive purposes. Thus, inventors started tinkering with the idea of an internal combustion engine. Their efforts paid off in 1860 when Etienne Lenoir successfully built the first internal combustion engine. It was a two-stroke engine. Otto, a German trade cum tinkerer later developed the two-stroke engine further and succeeded in manufacturing the four-stroke engine which later supplanted the Frenchman�s (Lenoir) two stroke sorties.
But it was rather unfortunate that Otto did not see any use for his new powerful machine beyond the mills. So it was, until 1882 when Karl Benz saw what Otto could not see, and made the first internal combustion automobile that eventually became the prototype of all automobile.
In the light of these facts, it must be said that while we must praise the genius of Karl Benz in making the automobile, it would be na�ve to dub him the inventor of the automobile. But what actually happens in the engine of an automobile?
The basic activity of the automobile engine is converting linear motion into rotatory motion. The linear motion is produced by the vertical movement of the pistons in the cylinders. This linear motion produced in the cylinder are converted into rotary motion by using a specially designed rod known as the connecting rod to join the piston to a zigzag-shaped horizontally-lying iron known as the crank shaft. Thus, as the piston move up and down, the crank shaft is turned round.