Humanities › History & Culture Famous Automobile Makers The Foremost Pioneers in Automobile History Share Flipboard Email Print History & Culture Inventions Famous Inventors Famous Inventions Patents & Trademarks Invention Timelines Computers & The Internet American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Mary Bellis Inventions Expert Mary Bellis covered inventions and inventors for ThoughtCo for 18 years. She is known for her independent films and documentaries, including one about Alexander Graham Bell. our editorial process Mary Bellis Updated February 12, 2019 There are several geniuses that need to be mentioned, who were the early pioneers at the dawn of automobile history. These are 8 of the most significant people behind the over 100,000 patents that created the modern automobile. 01 of 08 Nikolaus August Otto Nikolaus August Otto's four wheeled Otto cycle. Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images One of the most important landmarks in engine design comes from Nikolaus Otto who in 1876 invented an effective gas motor engine. Nikolaus Otto built the first practical four-stroke internal combustion engine called the "Otto Cycle Engine." 02 of 08 Gottlieb Daimler Gottlieb Daimler (rear) enjoys a ride in his 'horseless carriage.'. Bettmann/Getty Images In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler invented a gas engine that allowed for a revolution in car design. On March 8, 1886, Daimler took a stagecoach and adapted it to hold his engine, thereby designing the world's first four-wheeled automobile. 03 of 08 Karl Benz (Carl Benz) The first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine, built by Karl Benz. De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images Karl Benz was the German mechanical engineer who designed and in 1885 built the world's first practical automobile to be powered by an internal-combustion engine. 04 of 08 John Lambert John W. Lambert built the first American automobile in 1851--pictured above is the Thomas Flyer from 1907. Car Culture, Inc./Getty Images America's first gasoline-powered automobile was the 1891 Lambert car invented by John W. Lambert. 05 of 08 Duryea Brothers Charles and Frank Duryea's early automobile. Jack Thamm/Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images America's first gasoline-powered commercial car manufacturers were two brothers, Charles Duryea (1861-1938) and Frank Duryea. The brothers were bicycle makers who became interested in gasoline engines and automobiles. On September 20, 1893, their first automobile was constructed and successfully tested on the public streets of Springfield, Massachusetts. 06 of 08 Henry Ford Henry Ford at wheel, John Burroughs and Thomas Edison in back seat of the Model T. Bettman/Getty Images Henry Ford improved the assembly line for automobile manufacturing (Model-T), invented a transmission mechanism, and popularized the gas-powered automobile. Henry Ford was born July 30, 1863, on his family's farm in Dearborn, Michigan. From the time he was a young boy, Ford enjoyed tinkering with machines. 07 of 08 Rudolf Diesel Modern internal combustion car engine. Oleksiy Maksymenko/Getty Images Rudolf Diesel invented the diesel-fueled internal combustion engine. 08 of 08 Charles Franklin Kettering Charles Franklin Kettering (1876-1958), the holder of 140 patents, was the inventor of the self-starter for car engines, the electrical ignition system, and the engine-driven generator. Bettman/Getty Images Charles Franklin Kettering invented the first automobile electrical ignition system and the first practical engine-driven generator.