There is No Straightforward Answer
Nowadays, automobiles are a part of daily life every day for many people worldwide. This can lead a person to wonder, who invented the first automobile? Well, there is no true straightforward answer. According to the Library of Congress, Karl (Carl) Benz is the inventor of the automobile. The history of building automobiles dates back to Leonardo da Vinci’s designs in the 15th century. On top of this, there are many different types of auto designs including electric, gas, and steam engines. Furthermore, there are numerous styles that differentiate vehicle types.
Before Karl Benz (1769 to 1839)
Le Fardier de Cugnot à Rétromobile – Johann Marmier – YouTube
From 1769 to 1839, the debate of who invented the first automobile begins. Starting with Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot from France. In 1769, Cugnot built the first steam self-propelled road vehicle. This was a military tractor for the French army with three wheels and a top speed of 2.5 mph. As it was a self-propelling vehicle, many debate if this was the first official vehicle. Next, from 1832 to 1839, Robert Anderson from Scotland worked on an electric carriage design. This electric carriage was the next tip of the debate, but not much else is available on this setup.
Karl Friedrich Benz (1885-1886)
The First car ever running live! The Benz Motorwagen (1885) – SquirrelAndRope – YouTube
Karl Friedrich Benz is the Library of Congress’ answer to “who invented the first automobile?”. From 1885-1886, Benz built the first “true” automobile. This vehicle uses gasoline as the power source. Furthermore, the vehicle features an internal combustion engine. This engine has a three wheel and four-cycle setup. The engine and chassis form a single unit. Lastly, this invention has a patent in Germany. For further information, look into Germany Patent DRP No. 37435.
After Karl Benz (1876-1893)
Gottlieb Daimler | automobile inventor – Daimler AG – YouTube
After Benz, there are three further people who some say are responsible for the automobile. So, Karl Benz is the Library of Congress’ answer to “who invented the first automobile?”, but others may digress. In 1886, Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach from Germany built the 1st four wheel, four-stroke engine setup. This gasoline vehicle is known as “Cannstatt-Daimler”. Next, there is George Baldwin Seldon in 1876 and 1895 from the United States. Selden’s design is a carriage with a internal combustion engine. This gasoline automobile was never manufactured but has a patent (patent no: 549,160 from 1895). Selden did however collect royalties for this design.
Lastly, there is Charles Edgar Duryea and his brother Frank. Located in the United States, the Duryea brothers design the first successful gas-powered car. This vehicle has a 4 horsepower two-stroke motor. Furthermore, the Duryea brothers also setup the first American car company. So, if someone wonders, “who set up the first American car manufacturing company?”, here’s your answer. Regardless, each of these designers have some type of contribution to the modern-day evolution of cars. For now, let’s skip the debate of who invented the first SUV or sports car.
Special Thanks to Karl Friedrich Benz
World’s First Car! – Veritasium – YouTube
Overall, the answer to “who invented the first automobile?” stands for Karl Friedrich Benz. At least, according to the Library of Congress. Obviously, this decision wasn’t the easiest and should be respected as one of the top possibilities. Regardless, anyone who owns a vehicle owes a special thanks to Benz. This man’s invention made possible what human life is today. Without automobiles, the world would drastically change back in time. Every single day, millions of people drive cars to get to work, go shopping, or hang with friends. In conclusion, thank you Karl Benz, for providing the path for modern transportation.
Reference: Library of Congress – https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/auto.html