06-16-2016

5 Surprising Facts About Car History

First Car Accident

The first automobile accident occurred in Ohio; this may be a surprise to some who might have anticipated the first accident to occur in a place like Detroit where cars were manufactured. However, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were inventors in Ohio making progress in technology related to transportation. Along with many firsts in terms of transportation innovations, the state of Ohio is also known as the location of the first car accident. The incident occurred in 1891 in Ohio City. James William Lambert was driving a single cylinder gas operated car. James Swoveland was a passenger in the vehicle. While driving along, Lambert struck a tree root; this forced the vehicle to go out of control and to run into a hitching post. Both Lambert and Swoveland survived the accident with relatively minor injuries. Interestingly, Lambert ended up making more than 600 inventions and patented them all, many of them having to do with automobile technology.

First Windshield Wipers

Did you know that windshield wipers were invented by a woman? An inventor by the name of Mary Anderson created the very first set of wipers for car windshields. Anderson was a “Renaissance woman” with diverse talents; she was a viticulturist, rancher, and real estate developer. In 1903 Mary got her first patent for her invention, what she called a “window cleaning device,” and what we know today as automatic windshield wipers. The year prior she was inspired to create the wipers when she was riding along in a trolley car on a cold day. The motorman controlling the car was forced to leave a window open in the cold weather because it was sleeting outside and he couldn’t keep the trolley car window free of ice. After the trip, Anderson returned home to Alabama, worked with a designer to have a working model created, and then got a seventeen year patent for the invention of her wipers. The controls of the wipers hosted a lever inside the vehicle leading to a spring loaded arm that activated the windshield wipers.

Route 66

One of the most famed highways in all of car history is Route 66. Route 66 is a road with many names. It is a road often called the “Mother Road,” “The Will Rogers Highway,” or the “Main Street of America.” This highway originally covered 3940 kilometers or 2448 miles and started in Chicago while terminating in Los Angeles. Today the highway still begins in Chicago, but it terminates in Santa Monica, California, and interestingly, the new maps do not denote the former route for the famed “Old Route 66.” The highway covers three time zones and eight states in all including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois. The construction of the highway took a period of years, with much of the road remaining unpaved for a long period of time, but did you know that the road actually has an intersection where it crosses itself? In Albuquerque, New Mexico, if you drive up to Central Ave and 4th Street you will find yourself idling at the corner of Route 66 as it crosses Route 66. If you choose to travel Route 66 you’ll want a map or a GPS device with you too; you can’t rely on the road signs being where they were in the past. This highway is so famous that car history fans steal the road signs to keep them as souvenirs.

First Gas Pumps

Did you know that the history of the gas pump actually begins before the history of cars? The first pumps used for pumping gas were sold in Fort Wayne, Indiana by Syvlanus Freelove Bowser: A inventor who made a kerosene pump and had it patented in the year 1885. The pump was used for fueling stoves and kerosene lamps. Once cars were invented Bowser was inspired to create gasoline storage pump with self measuring features. The unit was first offered in 1905. The first gas pumps hosted a suction pump that was manually operated; a flexible hose was used to put the gas into vehicles. The tanks hosted cabinets made of wood and they only held fifty gallons of fuel at a time. The first gas pumps were commonly set up along a curb outside of a store front and for a period of time the vertical gas pump was identified as a bowser. After making gas pumps through S.F. Bowser & Company, Bowser continued to develop products for the purposes of handling and measuring commercial liquids.

So famed did Bowser become for having patented the first pump that there is a street in Indiana named after him: Bowser Avenue.

First Car Tires

The first car tires ever used were actually white. A tire manufacturer, who wanted to offer consumers different tire options, contacted a company to have customer made tires of a different color. The tire manufacturer connected with Joseph Binney, the founder of the Peekskill Chemical Company, and requested silver-gray colored car tires. The Peekskill Chemical Company was established in New York in the mid 1860; Binney was an expert in creating red and black paints and colors. Binney managed to make darker hues for tires. What's more, Binney figured out that by putting black carbon into tire materials, the tires lasted as much as five times longer than the first white tires created. From then on tires were made in black colors. Meanwhile, the Peekskill Chemical Company evolved into the Binney & South Company and began producing crayons under another famous brand: Crayola®.

First Car Tires

The first car tires ever used were actually white. A tire manufacturer, who wanted to offer consumers different tire options, contacted a company to have customer made tires of a different color. The tire manufacturer connected with Joseph Binney, the founder of the Peekskill Chemical Company, and requested silver-gray colored car tires. The Peekskill Chemical Company was established in New York in the mid 1860; Binney was an expert in creating red and black paints and colors. Binney managed to make darker hues for tires. What's more, Binney figured out that by putting black carbon into tire materials, the tires lasted as much as five times longer than the first white tires created. From then on tires were made in black colors. Meanwhile, the Peekskill Chemical Company evolved into the Binney & South Company and began producing crayons under another famous brand: Crayola®.

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