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Effects of Automobiles in America

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How did the automobile change America both geographically and socially?

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The solution gives 1287 words on the effects and influence of widespread automobile usage in America with 6 references included.

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The automobile is a technology which helped open America up as a country and allowed people to travel. It has changed the way commerce is done and has enabled the common person to achieve success and mobility. However, in the wake of this great invention the eventual malaise of forgetfulness has taken hold. One need only look at the immense stress that is generated by the lack of an automobile at the microcosmic level and the national transportation and trucking industry at the macrocosmic level to understand the impact of the automobile.

The history of the automobile is often traced to Henry Ford; however, the truth is that the development of the automobile started in France in 1769. The first self-propelled car was built by Nicolas Cugnot; a French military engineer developed a steam powered road-vehicle for the French army to haul heavy cannons. Using a steam engine fixed to a three-wheeled cart, Cugnot successfully converted the back-and-forth action of a steam piston into rotary motion. The truck reputedly reached walking speed and carried four tons. (1) The army later abandoned his invention due to its applicability and mechanical problem. However, this could be considered the seminal point in the development of the automobile.

In 1801 Britain's Richard Trevithick improved the design of steam engines, by making smaller and lighter with stronger boilers generating more power. Eventually this led to English engineer, Samuel Brown in 1824 adapting an old steam engine to burn a mixture of oxygen hydrogen gas. It was used to briefly power a vehicle up Shooter's Hill which incidentally was the highest point in South London. The concept of variable fuels did not escape the inventors as exhibited in 1858 when the first coal-gas engine was developed by Belgian-born engineer, Jean Joseph √Čtienne Lenoir and patented (1860). This led to the development of a two-piston, internal combustion engine. It was fueled by coal gas and triggered by an electric spark-ignition. Finally, in 1876 Nikolaus August ...

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