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History of Car Brakes For All the Car Lovers

Updated on July 10, 2015

The Origin of the History of Car Brakes

I would like to talk about the history of the brake a little bit.

Originally when horse and carriage was popular they use a braking system refer to as the wooden block.

The wooden block was the original brake pad

It was a simple concept the coach or carriage drive used to have a long lever stick from the floor.

While pulling back on the rings of the horses he has pulled the lever back which would push down on a wooden block to slow down the carriage.



This system was also used in some earlier prototypes of the automobile but the invention of the rubber tire brought along new challenges.

Few tried to continue using the wooden block on the rubber tire, although it worked fairly well it had a tendency to wear out tires extremely quickly.

It called for innovation, next came the drum brake with two different designs. One was the external brake which had a large metal band that surrounded the brake drum and clamped down to stop forward momentum.

The metal band of the external brake is like 2nd generation brake pads because they effectively served the same purpose.

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Internal Expanding Braking System

Due to multiple problems and the inability to withstand the elements.

Next came the internal expanding braking system which can still be seen being used today.

The internal expanding brakes were revolutionary because it protects the components of the brakes but also maintain pressure on the drum when it was parked on the hill.

The metal band on external brakes often broke when it was parked on hills so a chalk behind the wheel was the way to go.

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The internal shoe brake applied pressure from the inside of the drum to prevent forward motion.

In this instance the shoe brake would be consider the brake pad because of how it applied pressure to the drum.

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Facts and Fiction about Car Brakes

In 1962, there was the innovation of the disc brake which is the system we know and love today. The disc brake required the the shoe brake or known today as the brake pad, be placed outside of the disc.

With the help of hydraulic fluid and a piston brake pads apply pressure to a disc. The brake pad only takes up about 15% of the disc also known as the rotor. When brake pads are applied to the rotor this prevents for motion.

What is interesting is that the modern day hydraulic disc braking system is a combination of all the great designs that came before it. As a successor the brake pad has a very proud heritage and shows a very promising future.

The next innovation is the actual size of the brake pad. Automakers have reported that they are coming up with new methods to cover more surface area of the disc....

So stay tuned!


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