Until the 1800s, the invention of a self-powered vehicle was viewed as little more than fantasy. Most people traveled by horse and buggy and saw no future in the development of a 'horseless' carriage.
The first self-propelled power vehicle was invented in 1769 by Nicolas Joseph Cugnot in France. The machine was steam powered. It had three wheels and moved at less than five miles an hour. The tractor, as it was to be used, was wrecked on its very first run. In 1801, Richard Trevithick build a four wheel vehicle with a steam powered engine. Sir Goldworthy Gurney built a six wheel vehicle in the 1830s which could reach a speed of fifteen miles an hour. Steam vehicles became fairly common for public transportation in England during the middle of the nineteenth century. This also made jobs in automotive became significant to mass employment.
The American, Thomas Davenport who was so successful in his auto career, made one of the first electric powered automobile in the 1890s. William Morrison, also an American, built one as well in the 1890s. Electric cars were more popular in the United States than in Britain. Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler manufactured the first gasoline powered automobiles. The production began in Europe in the last fifteen years of the nineteenth century. Armand Peugeot also became an early manufacturer of automobiles, and Louis Renault developed a drive shaft system, which replaced a chain drive, in 1989. Daimler-Benz still produces Mercedez-Benz automobiles, and Peugeot and Renaut remain well-known car manufacturers to this day as well.
In the United States, Charles and Frank Duryea build a gasoline powered auto in the early 18902. They began manufacturing autos for sale soon after. Assembly line work was developed in the Untied States in 1901 at the Olds Motor Works in Detroit, after a fire gutted the production shop. Olds was able to produce 425 new cars in its first year on the assembly line, a big increase over the number of hand-build cars that were generated the year before.
Recalling also on the automotive careers of Henry Ford, he set a goal that mass produced cars should be affordable to the average person. He built the Model T, a car that sold for $850, a fairly expensive purchase, but is still became the most popular car sold in the United States for the 20 years following its production in 1908. Ford developed a moving conveyor belt for the production line in an attempt to speed production and efficiency of car manufacturing. The moving assembly line was the foundation for the system that is still used today in most car factories. By 1916, the Model T cost only $400, and other manufacturers had built their own conveyor systems of production. In Europe, gasoline powered vehicles were used in the war effort, and this accelerated the production rate and acceptability of such transportation.
As technology advanced so did car design. The cars became bigger, faster, sturdier, and more dependable. Roads were paved, and in 1921 Congress passed an act allowing for federal assistance in funding for a public highway system, hence automotive jobs had also dramatically increased. The latest refinements in mass production are called automation. Automation refers to processes that automatically transfer work from one operation to another. Automated processes use precise electronic and hydraulic controls to measure work in progress, to receive feedback on adjustments that may be necessary, and to adjust the machines to limits as small as one ten-thousandth of an inch.
The past few decades have seen a decline in the U.S. automobile industry due to foreign competition industry due to foreign competition and recurring energy crises. The U.S. auto industry invested $84 billion in plant facilities, equipment, and special tooling between 1975 and 1985. After the 1979 energy crisis, the industry suffered from economic recession and from it shifts in buyer preferences toward imported vehicles. Japan imposed voluntary restraints on its exports in 1981 through 1985, and the industry again enjoyed strong profitability, and in the mid-1980s it reported healthy balance sheets. Today, with the world market is open to international communities, the automotive industry still provides a stable auto employment to many citizens from different countries. Its technological advancement in production makes auto jobs more efficient, and can even propel the whole economy to a higher level.