Pictorial Timeline of Automobiles

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Automobile Timeline - Pre1850


The very first self-propelled road vehicle was a military tractor invented by French engineer and mechanic, Nicolas Joseph Cugnot.


The first U.S. patent for a steam-powered land vehicle was granted to Oliver Evans.


Richard Trevithick built a road carriage powered by steam. It was the first built in Great Britain.


Francois Isaac de Rivaz of Switzerland invented an internal combustion engine that used a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen for fuel. Rivaz designed a car for his engine that was the first internal combustion powered automobile. However, his was a very unsuccessful design.


Samuel Brown invents an internal combustion engine with separate combustion and working cylinders. It is used to power a vehicle.


Between 1832 and 1839 (the exact year is uncertain), Robert Anderson of Scotland invented the first crude electric carriage.
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Automobile Timeline - Pre1900

Gottlieb Daimler - the world’s first motorbike.


Jean-Joseph-Etienne Lenoir builds a “horseless carriage” that uses an internal combustion engine that can reach speed of 3 mph).


Nicholaus August Otto develops an improved internal combustion engine.


Julius Hock builds the first internal combustion engine that runs on liquid gasoline.


Nikolaus Otto builds the four-cycle internal combustion engine, the prototype for modern car engines.

August 21 1879

George Baldwin files for the first U.S. patent for an automobile - well, actually a wagon fitted with an internal combustion engine.

September 5 1885

The first gasoline pump is installed in Fort Wayne.


Karl Benz builds a three-wheel automobile powered by a gasoline engine. the world’s first motorbike uses one of his internal combustion engines to build the world’s first motorbike.


Henry Ford builds his first automobile in Michigan.


Gottlieb Daimler uses his internal combustion engine to build a four-wheel vehicle, considered the first modern automobile.