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The Interesting History of the Automobile

It is hard to imagine that the first car in the world was built over 150 years ago. That car was made in 1862, in France, by J.J. Etienne Lenoir. Today, we have cars of all sorts of styles, sizes, for various purposes, and filled with many fancy gizmos.

How much do you know about the first cars, though? This might test your history a little bit.

  • Edouard Michelin of France invented the first air filled tire. When did he invent this tire?

    • 1870
    • 1895
    • 1910
  • In 1896, Mrs. Briget Driscoll became the first traffic fatality, when she was run over by a car travelling at the high rate of 4 miles per hour. In the same year, driver Walter Arnold became the first person cited and convicted of speeding…for exceeding 2 miles per hour in a residential area. He was travelling 4 miles per hour. Where did both events occur?

    • London, England
    • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • San Francisco, California
  • Keeping in mind that the first car was built in 1862, it is extraordinary that the first traffic light was installed in 1868. Where was the traffic light installed?

    • Paris
    • New York
    • London
  • In 1903, the first countrywide standardized traffic signs were adopted in what country?

    • United States
    • Germany
    • France
  • In what year was Canada’s first highway opened?

    • 1905
    • 1939
    • 1945
  • In 1921, the world’s first motorway opened. Its name literally meant ‘automobile road’ and the name is still in use today. In what country was the motorway located?

    • Germany
    • England
    • United States
  • Early ‘unmade’ roads consisted of dirt or gravel and were prone to ruts. In 1901, Edgar Hooley, a surveyor, noticed a stretch of road that had no ruts. In that place, a barrel of tar had fallen off a wagon onto the roadway and slag from a nearby ironworks was used to cover the sticky tar. In 1902, Hooley patented the process, which he called “tar macadam”. This is better known today as what?

    • Blacktop
    • Tarmac
    • Asphalt
  • The world’s first airbags were installed on company cars of the Mercury Company (now part of Ford-Lincoln-Mercury). In what year did this happen?

    • 1922
    • 1940
    • 1974
  • The first ‘vehicle excise tax’ was introduced in 1889. What country introduced this tax on its citizens?

    • England
    • USA
    • Canada
  • In 1969, seatbelts became mandatory to wear in cars for the first time anywhere in the world. What country was the first to require that seatbelts had to be worn?

    • USA
    • Germany
    • Czechoslovakia

What do you think?

13 points

Written by Rex Trulove

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  1. Fascinating quiz! I only got 4/10 right. Thought I knew more about cars and the history of motoring than that! I thought the motor car was invented by Henry Ford, but apparently not, eh? Did he just modify the design of the French inventor then?

    • Henry Ford’s biggest contribution is that he invented the assembly line for manufacturing cars. Before Henry, cars were put together one at a time, usually from handmade parts, so no two were the same. Henry standardized the parts and set up a system where a worker would install one single part, then the vehicle would be conveyed down the line for the next part. This greatly simplified things since each worker was only responsible for one part and not the entire car.

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