Since I’ve been thinking of cars and trucks a lot lately it’s
time to share a little timeline of firsts in the automotive
industry. This is not meant to be a list of all firsts, just
the ones we found interesting.
The telescope shock absorber was designed in 1901 by C.L.
Horock. While lever action shocks were used into the late 40s
by some manufacturers, a version of the telescope shock is
still in use today.
Those of us in the hobby know most older car bodies had a
wooden frame covered with sheet metal. So when was the first
all steel body made? Believe it or not, the first all steel
body on a production car was the 1914 Dodge.
Care to venture a guess as to the first American car that had
four-wheel hydraulic brakes? The answer is the 1922 Duesenburg
made in Indianapolis, Indiana.
1926 saw the first power steering system on the Pierce-Arrow.
The 30s saw two firsts that caught our eye. Hard to believe,
but the first flashing turn signal was introduced in 1935 and
was done by a Delaware company. The system used a thermal
interrupter switch to make the bulbs flash off and on. Then in
1939 the Nash Motor Company added air conditioning to its cars.
In 1940 the Jeep was designed and Oldsmobile debuted the first
fully automatic transmission.
A major development in the 1950s was cruise control. Standard
on most vehicles today it was designed by Ralph Teeter, who
In the 1960s more attention was paid to safety. That decade
was the beginning of pcv valves, catalytic converters, and
emission standards. The electronic fuel injection system was
also developed in the 60s.
The 70s saw airbags become standard equipment and fuel prices
escalate due to the gas shortage and upcoming ice age.
In the 80s the anti-lock braking sytem (ABS) was made
available on the Lincoln.
And the 90s? 1992 saw the passage of the Energy Policy Act of
1992 that encouraged automakers to produce alternative-fuels
vehicles. We’re still using Ethanol today. And in 1997
Cadillac became the first car maker to offer automatic
stability control increasing safety in those emergency
handling situations that occur while surfing the internet on
your smart phone while driving.
That is our unscientific, totally random, look at some of
the automotive firsts. Make of it what you will, I’m going to
hunt something to eat. Enjoy Wednesday, we’re halfway to the
Comments are always welcome.