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History of the Car and the Aeroplane

Jacob Houston

Since ancient times to the 19th century, the primary vehicle of transport and warfare was the horse. Wars had been fought over horses, transportation was built on the use of the horse, and in addition, of course, as stated before, in warfare, horses were used.


Nevertheless, in the 19th century, as more countries began to industrialize, starting with the use of the train locomotive, horses began to be used in more short distance applications, with the middle and lower classes continuing to use horses. However, a new vehicle would come to be in the late 19th century that would change the history of mankind. The use of the ‘car’ had dated back to 1672, when Ferdinand Verbiest, a Flemish missionary, created a steam powered model with wheels for the future Kangxi Emperor of China to use as a toy. The model had no room for passengers, however.


In November of 1881, French inventor Gustave Trouve created the first electric powered car like vehicle, but Carl Benz, German automotive engineer, designed and built the first modern car with his own engine. He called the car Motorwagen, which was built in 1889, and sold 25 Motorwagen’s between 1888 and 1893. At first, however, most people did not see the car as the vehicle of the future, and Carl Benz’s growing business met several failures.


Thus, the modern car did not become a big vehicle used widely until the French; Emil Lavassor and Armand Peugeot, and the Americans; George Selden, Duryea Brothers, the British; Thomas Ricket, Frederick William Lanchester, and the Germans; Rudolf Diesel, created engines and cars of their own and started several companies that are around to this day.

The airplane, or flight vehicles, however, had been described since ancient times, through Greek and Indian epics, and through many modern times, through the use of steam and gliders, until Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first known ‘airplane’, the Wright Flyer, in 1903.


The airplane was thus seen as a way for faster transport, and several aircraft companies like Gallaudet, Boeing, Loughead, and Loening began creating their own airplanes. However, World War I saw use of the airplane in a military sense, with even more aircraft companies rising to produce their own airplanes for use in war, including Fokker, Sopwith, and Bristol, who created their own aircraft that were used in World War I.


The 1920s and 1930s began the use of airplanes and cars much more, with mass producing car companies like Ford with the Model T, and General Motors creating cars for the middle and lower classes. In other countries, companies like Toyota and Mitsubishi in Japan and Aston Martin and Jaguar in Britain grew more powerful, as more and more people began using cars.

Airplane companies began to get more powerful in the 1920s and 1930s as well, with companies like Culver and Howard becoming big in the aircraft business (also many other German, American, and Japanese companies). However, with the start of World War II, cars and airplanes were used in almost every sense of the war, with airplanes being used many times in the Pacific with the use of the aircraft carrier.


Airplanes and cars were used in every battle of the war, and with the victory of the Allies in 1945, the automotive and aircraft business grew even larger. Germany and Japan turned to the automotive industry, with Mercedes Benz, and companies like Toyota and Honda to recreate their own industry. In the US, Ford and General Motors, along with Chrysler, each became some of the biggest companies in the world, with the 1950s and the 1960s. General Motors became the largest car company in the world for 77 years, only recently losing the spot to Toyota in 2008, while the Ford logo became one of the most recognizable in the world.


Jet technology was used by the Germans in World War II, and the Allied powers soon began creating their own jets for transportation and military use. The sound barrier was broken in 1947 by an aircraft, and the use of rockets and spacecraft with technology gained from aircraft use began to be used in the 1950s and 1960s in the ‘Space Race’, in which the first human made it to the moon in 1969.


However, with the Cold War, the use of nuclear weapons became important for the airplane, as aircraft could carry nuclear weapons over a target and drop them before being detected by radar. However, the use of missiles would take away many uses of aircraft in that state, but the aircraft would continue to be used, as it is used to this day.


Aircraft and cars are recent additions to the history of mankind, but have been used to change the world in a short time. Some would ask what the world would look like hundreds of years from now, and if the car or airplane would ever be used, but presently, they are still to be used, as much as the horse was used in ancient times.

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