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How has the Automobile Changed History?

Updated on October 11, 2013

Early Automobile Industry.

Did the automobile change history and affect the way ordinary people lived their lives? Although they were being made in Europe and America in the late 1800's, it wasn't until the start of the 20th century that they really came into their own.

In 1895 in the US there were 300 cars manufactured. Just ten years later there were 78,000, then 459,000 in 1910 and 1.7million by 1914. The popularity of cars didn't stop and has continued to grow ever since.

Today the automobile is an essential part of everyday life, indeed it's hard to imagine life without it.

Photo courtesy ofBoats-n-cars

Ford Revolutionizes Manufacturing

In 1914 Henry Ford revolutionized the whole manufacturing process by creating the continuous, moving assembly line.

The Henry Ford assembly line method, meant that each worker had a standardized job in one place, instead of moving around performing different tasks. This increased the safety factor and led to more output per worker.

Ford reduced the working day from 9 hours to 8 hours, so that he could operate 3 shifts per day.

He increased wages to almost double that of other manufacturers and created a plan to profit share with his workers.

These innovations increased production dramatically and reduced costs, making automobiles more affordable to the general public.

It also made Ford something of a celebrity and other industries soon adopted his methods.

The assembly line was here to stay.

Photo of Henry Ford is in the public domain

The Automobile And American Life

This book takes you through the history of the automobile as a mechanical novelty, to a plaything for the rich. It follows through with how it became available to the masses, and its continued effect and changes to the present time.

The Automobile Changed The Way We Lived

The new personal transport

In the 19th century the railway had a great impact on peoples lives, transporting people and goods. The automobile was the innovation of the 20th century. It had a huge impact on the way people worked and lived.

During the 1910 to early 1920s period, new, large scale production methods increased affordability and more Americans were able to own cars. In 1914 a factory worker could buy a Model T Ford with four months pay. The Model T became popular because it was affordable, easy to operate and to maintain. Automobiles were no longer just a toy for the rich.

For the first time, people were able to go where-ever they wanted, whenever they wanted. People became fascinated by this idea, and this had far reaching effects for society. Many people previously had never been more than a few miles away from their place of birth. A network of national highways were built and gas stations popped up along them. People could now choose to live further away from their workplace. Suburbia began to spread and many other industries began to flourish using the assembly line method. Suddenly the world had become a much smaller place.

Read more about the effect of automobiles on society here.

Photo courtesy of jacksnell

How Far Do You Travel?

Just how far do you have to travel to get to work or school or even to the shops? Let's find out how far the average person travels in their normal daily activities.

How far do you travel to work, school or to do the grocery shopping?

See results

How Do You Get There?

So what method of transport do you mainly use to carry out your daily travel activities. This will depend to some degree on where you live, but let's see if we can find out what most people do.

How do you get to work, school or shops?

See results

Assembly Line Production

With the introduction of the assembly line, automobiles and the way they were made, changed the way people worked and lived their lives.

Henry Ford And The Assembly Line

Did You Know?

Cars didn't always have electronic ignition start. No, indeed it was actually quite hard to get a car started. To get the motor running you had to crank it by hand, something that took quite a bit of physical strength and you could actually get hurt in the process if you didn't do it right. Broken thumbs, wrists and arms were the most common type of injury. It's hard to imagine that just starting a car could be so difficult and dangerous.

You can read more about the trials and tribulations of early cars here.

Did The Automobile Change History? - What do you think?

The assembly line method of production started with the automobile. Today all industries follow this method. So, today's industry method's were affected by the automobile.

Imagine what life would be like if you still had to live within walking distance of your workplace. What about shopping? Fresh produce would have to be locally grown, so variety and availability would be limited. Other things like furniture, clothing, white goods could take weeks or months before you received them.

Remember, I'm not asking which one you would rather live without but which one most changed the way society lived!

Visiting friends or relatives would be much more difficult unless they lived nearby. There would be no proper roads because our highways were created specifically for the automobile. It really is quite hard to imagine what the world was like without all these things that we take for granted today. Keep in mind the fact that by horse you might only be able to travel around 10-15 miles a day. The automobile really did change the way we lived our lives.

Electricity certainly had a major effect on our lives. It would be very hard to imagine what our lives would be like without it.. No refridgerators, lighting, air-conditioning, computers, all those appliances that we take for granted!! Electricity made our lives easier in many ways, but did it change the way we live as much as the automobile?

Which one made the biggest change to the way society lived?

Want To Know More About Automobiles In History?

Have a look at these interesting books available from Amazon.

Early American Automobiles

This is rather a long movie but it really gives you a good idea of what life was like before the automobile and how things changed as cars became accessible to the average person..

A mug for the antique car enthuisiast.

For the man who's always working on his car.

A trinket just to show you care

Affiliate Disclosure

Sandy Hitchins is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Before you go, let me know what you think about the automobile's effect on history and my page. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for visiting.

Time To Motor Out!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      awesome page!

    • BlogsWriter profile image

      BlogsWriter 5 years ago

      A very impressive and exciting of the evolution of vehicles.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      I enjoyed this lens, Oztoo. Very interesting what was before...

    • profile image

      Bartukas 5 years ago

      Great lens about cars :P

    • pcgamehardware profile image

      pcgamehardware 5 years ago

      Cool and informative page, nice job. :) Liked and Blessed... :)

    • opatoday profile image

      opatoday 5 years ago

      great lens fun read thank you

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      Brilliant lens Blessed

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      Interesting facts.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago


    • profile image

      Monarch55 5 years ago

      My father had an old Ford model long back thought I never saw it except in photos as it was before my time. Your lens brought back memories.Liked it.

    • profile image

      JamesDWilson 5 years ago

      Nice lens, some good info on here!

    • profile image

      DMVAgent 5 years ago

      During the great depression, automobiles become houses. :)

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I spend more time in my golf cart now than I do in my car. The joy of retirement!

      I'd love to see you make a page about Australian cars.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 6 years ago

      You bring lot of interesting facts. thanks for a great lens.

    • waldenthreenet profile image

      waldenthreenet 6 years ago

      Great Topic ! Transportation innovation a key need with careers of future benefits for kids of today for tomorrow.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 6 years ago from New Zealand

      Great lens, with a lot of food for thought. We couldn't do without a car, living in the country, but with saying that, we only use it once a week, everything is done then. Thanks for sharing. *Blessed*

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      The invention of the automobile was one of the most important events in recent history. The ease and freedom of transportation which cars make possible has changed the way the world moves, interacts, travels, and lives on a day to day basis. The automobile has even changed where we build our homes. Before cars made it easy to get where we needed to go at any time, towns and communities were built so that people could get where they needed to go by foot or wagon. Homes were built closer to town. Cars have changed more aspects of daily living than we usually think about. towing companies in san diego

    • NorDac LM profile image

      NorDac LM 6 years ago

      I'm pretty much all motorcycle now. Occasionally I'll rent a car if needed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      My boyfie's into cars! but i'd definitely need electricity! hahaha i don't know what to choose

      Tips for Limo Hire

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 7 years ago

      My husband is a car nut and this lens is definitely up his alley. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      My husband loves cars but we have two on storage as we are often away for long periods. We love driving long distances when we are home but for me many countries in Asia are rich today because of electricity.

    • profile image

      tedjeanroberts 7 years ago

      waaaw.. its so fun to read the lens.. can't imagine if there is no car in our life..

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      A fun read, lensrolled to my Studebaker lens.

    • CliveAnderson LM profile image

      CliveAnderson LM 7 years ago

      Great lens with some very interesting interaction, shows there is certainly room for a debate on the subject, be it good, bad or indifferent. Thank you for sharing...

      Warm Regards,


    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 7 years ago from USA

      Classic! Thanks for the history and **angel blessed**!

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 7 years ago

      We'd have to restructure our society completely, if we had no automobile or equivalent.

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 7 years ago

      @ChrisDay LM: It seems no one can really imagine what the world might have been like if cars were never invented.

    • profile image

      scar4 7 years ago

      I've never thought of this question, your lens aroused my interest greatly.

    • myneverboredhands profile image

      myneverboredhands 7 years ago

      Very interesting lens, thanks, Sandy, for sharing this with us. Thumbs up!

    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 7 years ago from Covington, LA

      I enjoyed your lens. Yes, the automobile did change history and the way we live today. But I'm with Bambi. I'm ready to teleport from place to place. Beam me up, Scotty!

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 7 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Great lens! Yes automobiles changed the way we live. Hopefully better automobiles will be produced soon that will stop polluting the environment!

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 7 years ago

      Yes, the invention of the automobile changed how humans live...but I imagine it was the same the first time humans figured out they could ride horses...and if we ever figure out how to teleport...there's going to be a whole lot of decotative steel laying around lol! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      The automobile is a grand invention, for sure. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Henry Ford was a great visionary and he gave the world a reason to ride on.

    • MagpieNest profile image

      MagpieNest 7 years ago

      Really interesting. I don't drive (will have to write about that one day) but yes, the car has changed things. I'm waiting for the next step where cars drive themselves.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 7 years ago from USA

      Enjoyed my stay! I love the old automobiles!

    • profile image

      bdkz 7 years ago

      What a neat lens!

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 8 years ago

      Nicely done! 5 stars and a tweet!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 8 years ago

      Great lens, well done. 5* fave and lensrolled to CarClassics


    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Good topic choice and a very well formatted lens you created here. 5*s!

    • profile image

      poutine 8 years ago

      Very interesting to read and I love your choice of pictures.


    • profile image

      poutine 8 years ago

      Very interesting to read and I love your choice of pictures.


    • profile image

      magnonsolutions 8 years ago

      Maruti Suzuki Ritz one of the best article

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Great lens!

      Thanks for sharing


    • SherryHolderHunt profile image

      SherryHolderHunt 8 years ago

      Fabulous lens! 5***** Rolled to Muscle Cars of the 1960s Era

    • momto4 lm profile image

      momto4 lm 8 years ago

      Great lens full of great information! Love the pictures!

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 8 years ago

      Cool lens, great info!

    • profile image

      daviddavid200 8 years ago

      Very interesting!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 8 years ago from United States

      Great Lens!

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago

      This is so interesting!

    • profile image

      myraggededge 8 years ago

      Lots of interesting pathways to explore in this subject. My homeschooled son loves to delve into automotive history.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Great lens! I work with 7th graders and we'll be going over this very subject soon! I sure am glad there were inventors out there who came up with cars, I don't think I would want to walk to work!


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