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4 Notable ‘Firsts’ In The Automobile History



There is a lot that have happened in the automobile world if you should take a walk down the memory lane. Ever since Karl Benz created the first car in 1885, innovations, new technologies are birthed.

Just take a good look at your car; most of the features you see were not originally standard for several years ago. A perfect example is the steering wheel – the first cars did not have them. Seat belts, infotainment, air conditioning system and some other features were all invented along the way.

There are some other vehicle related weird things you’ll get to find out when you’re done reading this piece.

Below are some notable firsts in the automobile history


1. The first steering wheel was introduced in 1894:

The first steering wheel came almost a decade after Karl Benz made the world’s first car. Alfred Vacheron is the person who invented the steering wheel in the year 1894. Before then, cars used tillers for steering – used in steering boats.

Driving wasn’t just very rosy at that time. The smaller bicycle-sized tyres fitted in cars back then made steering a little bit more easy. Along the line in the 1920s, Francis W. Davis invented the power steering.

automobile firsts steering

2. Car radio was introduced in 1922:

Imagine how boring it would have been if there were no radios/stereos in cars. The sound system found in cars makes driving lot more interesting.

All thanks to Chevrolet that installed the first car radio in 1922. It was not very easy getting it accepted as a standard feature in cars.

The anti-car radio guys claimed the radio would be a distraction to drivers and would make them sleep while driving and went further to propose laws to ban them in cars.

However, the Radio Manufacturers Association had a different thinking with the anti-radio guys. They claimed radios kept drivers awake and could be used to inform them of news about the roads and weather.

Car radios only became standard in the 1930s.

automobile firsts radio

3. The first closed car was made in 1905:

Early cars did not look like what we have around today; they looked more like horse-drawn carriages.

The first car drivers didn’t enjoy what we enjoy today. They were exposed to rain, snow, sunlight and even dust. This is even very terrible to imagine.

The first cars were simply terrible that the comfort of drivers and other occupants were trampled upon.

The game and the sad story changed in 1905 when Cadillac unveiled the first closed car. It was offered as an option for the people who could afford it. In 1910, Cadillac started offering its vehicles with closed tops.

automobile firsts closed car

4. Early cars used to have all white tyres:

The tyre colour we all know today is black. But back then when car tyres were invented, they were plain white because of what they were made of – natural white rubbers.

However, the tires usually turned black as they absorbed the black soot released from the exhaust.

An observation was then made by manufacturers. They realized the soot made the car tyres last longer. They opted for another material that had similar properties with the soot. That material is carbon black.

The carbon black made car tyres stronger and protects them from UV rays and ozone. It also takes heat away from the vehicle.

automobile firsts tyres

Emeka is a Contributor at Autojosh. A graduate of Electrical/Electronic Engineering with a B.Eng degree. Emeka is a car enthusiast who is interested in traveling, writing, movies and driving. He also loves drinking garri with cold water.