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It also brought about a revolution in the market place, suddenly making it possible to truck in goods that otherwise would be impossible to acquire. The automobile gave everyone a degree of mobility and personal freedom our forefathers could only dream of, and turned entire generations of teenagers into raging revheads. In the twentieth century, rockets became bigger and more powerful.

Power, Speed, and Form: Engineers and the Making of the Twentieth Century

Most importantly, they became controllable, which suddenly made them useful both as weapons of war and, even more vitally, as our means of accessing outer space. Without the rocket, it is safe to say we would not only have never gone to the moon or visited every planet in our solar system. What started as an irritating, but still deadly, weapon in World War One grew into a monstrosity in World War Two- sinking more than any other type of weapon used. Today, with the advent of nuclear power—which gave the submarine nearly unlimited range and endurance—it has become the capital warship in every first-class Navy in the world and as such has effectively rendered naval warfare of the past obsolete.

How effective is the modern submarine?

Ask anyone who has ever served on one. Until Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in , almost any little bug that someone picked up was potentially fatal. Once penicillin—and later a whole range of other antibiotics—came on the scene, however, death due to bacterial infection became rare, resulting in a greatly reduced mortality rate and much longer life-span. It also rendered many scourges of the past—from small pox and typhoid to gonorrhea and syphilis—obsolete or, at least in the case of venereal disease, something easily treatable. Yes, I know it destroys brain cells and renders people emotionally and psychologically damaged, but really, where would we be without the boob tube?

That being said after the early developments above there are some contenders for the 'first' electric cars below, depending on your idea of what constitutes a fully formed one. Sadly, Stratingh was unable to develop his 'car' further as he died shortly after in A little later in , an Austrian inventor Franz Kravogl displayed his electric car prototype at the World Exposition in Paris. This was an electrically-powered two-wheeled cycle that was not very reliable to drive on the street. In , Gustave Trouve tested a three-wheeler automobile along the streets of Paris. But it wasn't until that a British Inventor, Thomas Parker who also electrified the London Underground built the first production electric car.


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Parker powered his car using his own specially designed rechargeable high-capacity batteries. Morris and Chemist Pedro G.

Salom in in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This was a slow and heavy contraption with steel tires to resist the weight of its heavy frame and large lead battery. Across the pond, in the U. In , consumers began to take notice of this 'new-fangled technology' following A. Ryker's introduction of all-electric tricycles in the U. Various other inventors and engineers developed a series of other models throughout this period that climaxed in an electric car making the first ever speed record on the 18th December After these further developments in electric car technology flourished, it was a literal 'golden age' for the technology.

As a result, interest in electric cars was rising throughout the later 's and early 20th Century.

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Electric battery-powered taxis started to become available around the time - notably Walter C. Bersey 's fleet of cabs in London that was introduced in Despite their advantages over gasoline cars of the time, a lack of electrical infrastructure at the time did hold back their mass-adoption by consumers.


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This would mark the decline of electric cars at the time with them being completely eclipsed by combustion engine cars when large deposits of petroleum were discovered worldwide. By , most electric car manufacturers had either gone out of business or stopped production completely. The technology persisted for specialist uses like forklift trucks, milk floats in the UK, golf carts and some niche vehicles like the Henney Kilowatt but it generally stayed on the sidelines until its renaissance later in the 20th Century.

Although GM did experiment with electric vehicles as early as the mid's their first concept, the Electrovair never made it to mass-production. Fast forward a few decades and General Motors decided to "give it try" once again well not entirely voluntarily as you will see. Their first modern-age electric car, the General Motors EV1, was developed in the mid's.

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The EV1 was the first electric car to be mass-produced and purpose-built in the modern era by a major car manufacturer. Tesla Motors produced their very first electric car, the Roadster, in This vehicle was a revolution in the modern age of the electric vehicle and featured cutting-edge battery technology and electric powertrain.

The original Roadster is a battery electric vehicle BEV and was the first highway legal serial production all-electric car to ever use a lithium-ion battery as a power source. It is also the first all-electric car capable of traveling more than kilometers per charge. Of course, in recent years it can now add a very unique epithet to its already impressive list - the first production car to ever be launched into space.

Between its production years , over 2, Roadsters were sold in over 30 countries around the world. Here is a selection of events in the history of the electric car. This timeline is not exhaustive. Easy, the Toyota Prius right?

Sadly not. According to records, the first electric vehicle was actually developed much earlier. Although not a car by our definition, it's still a very interesting concept. The same chap also adapted his design for use in a boat propulsion system the same year. As an engineer, it taught be quite a bit about the development of the field of engineering, as opposed to science, as I know it today. Literally every facet of the modern world has been shaped by these eight innovations. Our lives today would be unimaginably different even if one of them did not develop.

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Furthermore, it is fascinating how each innovation later launched entire industries and millions of jobs all over the world. This is very inspiring. The book gave me the impression that these were the equivalents of Google, IBM, and Facebook in their day. Matthew Miller rated it it was ok Feb 09, John Zornick rated it liked it Dec 17, Marcos rated it liked it Mar 15, Ivan Ivanov rated it really liked it Jan 09, Gbull rated it it was amazing Jan 04, Ray marked it as to-read Nov 30, Sanchayan Sriskandarajah marked it as to-read May 29, Gersom Wursten marked it as to-read Aug 27, Dori added it Oct 12, Nathan added it Apr 17, Biblioteca Sardegna Ricerche added it Jan 23, Britt added it Feb 12, Gabby Alex added it Jan 10, Wesley Lopez marked it as to-read Feb 06, Meng Tsun added it May 23, BookDB marked it as to-read Aug 27, Mike marked it as to-read Sep 26, Jamal marked it as to-read Nov 08, M is currently reading it Oct 14, Jeff Schilling marked it as to-read Jan 05, Floietoss added it Mar 30, Ariel added it Oct 16, Gabriel Daleson marked it as to-read Mar 11, Rodishungry marked it as to-read Mar 12, Samantha marked it as to-read Mar 13, Juan Pollardo marked it as to-read Mar 13, Chaitanya R added it Mar 14, Arnisador marked it as to-read Mar 14, Thomas Herzog marked it as to-read Mar 15, Adi marked it as to-read Mar 15, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

About David P. Princeton University Gordon Y. Books by David P.