The automobile was invented to provide a form to transport people and cargo that was quicker and more convenient than those that existed at the time, such as horses, horse-drawn carriages, trains and boats. In addition to the automobiles basic benefit of faster, private transportation, the automobile also provided economic security and job opportunities for those working in the automobile industry.
The first automobile produced in the United States was the 1901 Curbed Dash Oldsmobile, built by Ransom E. Olds. While this car was the first to be manufactured, many people are more familiar with the invent of mass automobile production, which took place around 1908, when Henry Ford began producing the Model T. In 1896, Ford built his first gasoline powered car, but the Model T was the first of its kind to be produced in an assembly line manner. Model T production was discontinued in 1927 after 18 million vehicles had been produced.
Before gas-powered vehicles, steam-powered vehicles were manufactured as early as the late 1700s. In 1771, Nicolas Joseph Cugnot built the Fardier, a three-wheeled, steam-powered, vehicle that traveled at 2.3 miles per hour. It was designed for the French Minister of War. Due to the fact that it was slower and harder to operate than a horse-powered carriage, it was never mass produced.