Alberta & BC Rockies Transportation & Cars: Automotive History 1895-1907 (Early Automobile Era)

1895 - The Duryea brothers established the Duryea Motor Wagon Company which was the first firm in America organized to make gas cars commercially. Other car builders were Charles R. Black of Indianapolis, John Lamber in Ohio, and Ransom E. Olds. Lancaster introduced a propeller shaft transmission. V4 (four in line).engines were introduced by Mors and Daimler

1896 - Henry J. Ford built an internal combustion engine from plans he read in a magazine, which he mounted on a tiller-steered bicycle. In England, the "Red Flag Act" (requiring a flagman to walk in front of a motor car to warn others) was repealed. The first road race, the Emancipation Run from London to Brighton, was run for about 60 miles (96 km). It was held annually as a reliability trial for Veteran cars (those built before 1918).

1897 - The Rambler motor car was first built by Thomas B. Jeffery from the machine shop of his Chicago bicycle factory.

1898 - Ford built a second motorcar and persuaded a few investors to back him in producing it commercially, though his business failed after one year.

1899 - Frenchman Camille Jenatzy drove a Jeantaud electric car a new record of sixty miles an hour. The Studebaker buggy maker began producing auto bodies in 1899, and in 1903 produced its first car, an electric runabout. B. F. Goodrich pioneered pneumatic tires for automobiles. Also in 1998, Daimler introduced the floor-mounted accelerator and Renault introduced the universal joint for shaft drive to sprung rear axles.

1899 - Freelan O. Stanley drove his Stanley Steamer up New Hanpshire's Mt. Washington peak, and in 1900, John Brisben Walker drove another to the top of Colorado's Pikes Peak. The Akron Police Department acquired a brand-new motorized wagon to speed getting lawbreakers into jail. The U.S. Post Office Department bought its first motor vehicle on an experimental basis. In Milwaukee, the Johnson Service Company built 8 custom steamers to fulfill postal contracts there.

1901 - Ransom E. Olds became the first mass-producer of gasoline automobiles, building 425 Oldsmobiles in a single year. Olds contracted out component parts fabrication to other machine shops. Steering wheels replaced tillers as the dominant steering mechanism.

1902 - The American Automobile Association (AAA) was organized in Chicago reflecting the broad interest in this new mode of transportation. Olds built and sold 2500 vehicles. Ramblers began being manufactured in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with 3 rows of 2 seats on high wheels with friction brakes applied to the surface of the rear tires, and a bare bulb headlamp. David Dunbar Buick, a successful plumbing fixture manufacturer started into the automobile business, which he sold to William Durant. Frederick Lanchester invented the disc brake.

1903 - The Ford Motor Company of Detroit introduced the $850 Model A, powered by a 2-cylinder, 8-hp engine. Demountable rims simplified changing tires at the scene of a flat tire, which until that time was like changing a bicycle flat. The Mercedes Company (formerly Daimler) introduced brakes with internally-expanding shoes inside a brake drum. In France, the "Polulaire" lightweight air-cooled engine produced 8 hp at 1500 rpm, and weighed only 40 lb (18 kg).

1904 - Ford added the Model B, a 4-cylinder, selling for $2,000. The Prest-O- Lite Company and introduced acetylene gas-powered headlights. Automatic transmissions became available

1906 - A new speed record of 127 miles per hour was sent in a Stanley Steamer at Ormand Beach, Florida. Ford added the Model K, with a 40-horsepower engine and could push its 2,000-pound weight up to 60 mph. While unsuccessful at $2,800, it marked the transformation from a carriage-like appearance. California-built "Coyote" introduced a powerful V-8 engine. A front bumper was the first safety device introduced for a car. The first driver's license was issued in Denver, Colorado (for $1). The Standard Oil Company of California, opened the first service station, in Seattle Washington, with an old hot-water tank & hose to gravity-deliver gas into the car's fuel tank.

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