10. The First Gasoline Car
The first ever Gasoline powered automobile was built by a French 27 year old named Edouard Delamare-Deboutteville in 1883. The young inventor was trying to find a reliable alternative to horse transport on his family’s cotton mill when he came up with the idea. His father’s trustworthy mechanic, Charles Malandin helped him modify an 8 Horsepower Stationary Gas Engine and mount it to a four wheeled hunting-brake thus creating the first ever gasoline powered car.
9. The First Mass Produced Car
Before Henry Ford revolutionized production with the Model T, Oldsmobile made the first ever mass-produced car. In April of 1901 the Curved-Dash Olds was revealed. Oldsmobile could build more than 10 per week, making them the first ever car company to create a mass-produced vehicle. Thanks to the economies of scale, the car retailed at $650 ($17,500 adjusted for inflation)– Compare that to the 1901 St. Louis Runabout which would have cost you $2500 ($32,000 adjusted for inflation). The idea of mass-production and lower pricing helped pave the way for the levels of production we see today.
8. The First Car Radio
In May of 1922, a young Chicago resident named George Frost, the president of his high school radio club installed the first ever car radio into his Ford Model T. Later that same year at the Olympia Motor Show in London, England; The Daimler Company (later absorbed into a division of Jaguar) revealed the first commercial car radio in one of their limousines. The radio was produced by the Marconi-phone company. (Marconi has gone through many acquisitions throughout the years, but the Marconi company was responsible for some of the most important advances in radio and television history. They were pioneers in Trans-Atlantic communication, short-wave communications, radar and even the creation of the BBC).
7. The First Car Theft
In June of 1896 the Dutch-born Baron, Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt, an early motorcar enthusiast and founder of the Automobile-Club de France (one of the earliest car clubs) was having his 1896 3.75 Horsepower Peugeot repaired by a local Parisian mechanic. Rather unexpectedly the Baron became the first ever victim of a car thief. Authorities were alerted and luckily both the vehicle and the thief (the mechanic!) were discovered in the nearby town of Asnieres.
6. The First Vehicle Registration Plates
Paris, France was involved a lot in the early adoption of motor vehicles. Because of their large population they subsequently had some of the earliest laws that governed how they were operated. The Department of the Seine under the Paris Police Ordinance of August, 14 1893 created the first ever law that required vehicles driven on Paris roads have a license plate clearly displayed. It was to be displayed on the left side of the vehicle and never hidden. In 1901 this law extended to the rest of France. Compare this to the United States, where in 1901 New York became the first state to require visible registration on your vehicle, and it wasn’t until 1918 that all states required plates.
5. The First People to Die in Motoring Relating Accidents
On August 17, 1896 44 year old Bridget Driscoll of Croydon was crossing the street when Arthur James Edsall of Upper Norwood, struck her at the reckless pace of 4.5 miles per hour. After being arrested, and going through trial, after 6 hours of deliberation the jury came back with a verdict of “Accidental Death”. Notably, Driscoll was not the first ever person to be killed by a motor vehicle. That honor goes to the late Anglo-Irish Scientist Mary Ward. Mary’s son had built a steam powered vehicle, as she was riding down the road she was thrown from the vehicle and crushed underneath the wheels.
4. The First Traffic Lights
Surprising to exactly nobody the first traffic lights weren’t created for safety or ease of traffic, rather to make the commute for English politicians faster. The first traffic lights were created in December of 1868 in London, England to make it easier for politicians to enter the Houses of Parliament. Also unsurprisingly the general public abhorred the hand turned, red and green lantern, successfully lobbying to have it removed in 1872. It wasn’t until until 1922 when London re-introduced traffic lights.
3. The First Traffic Signs
Traffic signs didn’t get their start with motor vehicles. In 1879 the Bicycle Union installed the first ever traffic signs. These traffic signs were a warning to cyclists warning of a dangerous hill. The first internationally standardized signs with the motor vehicle in mind were agreed upon in France in 1909. The agreed upon design was the still in-use red triangle surrounding a plate with a symbol.
2. The First Parking Meter
In 1933 Carlton Magee, Editor of an Oklahoma City Newspaper and Chairman of a committee with the goal of designing and instituting stricter parking regulations in the city, designed the first ever parking meter. He didn’t stop there either, Magee then founded the Dual Parking Meter Company. On July 16, 1935 the first ever parking meters were installed with the intention of both easing the parking traffic and generating revenue for the Great Depression struck towns.
1. The First Bulk Gasoline Filling Station
In 1905, Saint Louis, Missouri became the sight of the first bulk gasoline filling station. The early gas station was operated by the Automobile Gasoline Company. This incredibly early filling station dispensed the gasoline through a garden hose connected to a gravity-feed tank to your parked vehicle outside. The first recognizable, modern style filling station with a canopy was opened in Seattle, Washington 2 years later by Standard Oil of California.