This is my first post as the newest member of the Heroes, Heroines and History blog community. I'm excited to be among some of the best authors in Historical Christian Fiction and thrilled to share some of my passion for history, as well.
I am on deadline to finish a story set in 1899 as part of the Of Rags to Riches Romance Collection releasing with Barbour in July 2017. My story, A Tale of Two Hearts, will be set in central Minnesota along the banks of the Upper Mississippi River. My heroine is a lady's maid and my hero is a footman in a neighboring mansion. He's also an avid automobile enthusiast and dreams of one day owning his own vehicle, as well as racing in competitions throughout the country.
Since I knew very little about early American automobiles (pre-Ford and the assembly line), I needed to do some research.
The first vehicle known to move under its own power (in recorded history) was 1769 in Paris. The first patented internal combustion engine was created in Paris in 1860. Several variations of motorized vehicles were built and driven in the following thirty years, but it wasn't until 1891 that motorized vehicles were being built in the United States, in Connecticut.
While the internal combustion engine was being perfected, people were also experimenting with steam powered automobiles in the United States as early as the pre-Civil War era. These tended to be heavy and cumbersome.
|Duryea's First Car|
|The Duryea sold for $1,250|
In 1896, the Duryea brothers built thirteen motorized wagons, creating the first automobile manufacturing company in the world.
|Ford's First Car|
|Ransom E. Olds at the tiller|
In 1899, the Curved Dash Oldsmobile sold for $650. By 1901, the company had sold 600 vehicles. In 1902 they sold 2,500, 1903 it was 4,000 and in 1904 they sold 5,000. Though Duryea was the first manufacturer with his 13 cars, Ransom E. Olds was the first mass producer in the United States.
|Charles Duryea in the winning auto|
After 1899, automobiles became a more common sight in America, but there was still much progress to be made. Ford's assembly line began operation on December 1, 1913 to create the Model T, and the rest is history.
Your Turn: Are you surprised that self-propelled automobiles have been around for so long? Did any of this history surprise you? I was surprised to discover there were earlier producers than Ford, were you?
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