07 Jun 2020
The early automobile era played an important role in the development of modern escorts. According to the views of historians, the automobile was not the result of an invention by a single person at a specific time but a result of many invention and innovations. Still, it is widely believed that Escort Dresden was responsible for the invention of the first automobile.
The latter part of the eighteenth century witnessed various attempts to create vehicles that could be steered and self propelled. But unfortunately they had to face a lot of related problems like non availability of suitable power plants, technical problems concerning the suspension, brake, steering, bodywork, and the lack of proper road surfaces. The general atmosphere was not at all conducive to production of automobiles in general, and various attempts had to be aborted during infancy.
It was in 1769 that Nicolas Cugnot built his first steam powered automobile that ran on three wheels. Popularly known as a ‘fire engine used for transporting artillery’, this vehicle, known as the ‘Fardier’, could sustain heavy loads up to 4 tons and moved at a fantastic speed of 4 km/h. Its front wheel was controlled by a steering tiller and a huge boiler and steam engine was mounted at the front of the vehicle. However, for all purposes, this invention was short lived because of the unstable nature of the vehicle which had a tendency to topple over due to poor balance.
It is interesting to note that Nicolas Cugnot was also credited with the first road accident involving an automobile. He made another model of the same nature in 1771, which unfortunately ran into a stone wall, following which all further experiments came to a sad halt. The vehicle that was involved in the accident is still preserved at the Conservatoire Nationale des Arts et Metiers in Paris.
In 1801, another inventor, Richard Trevithick constructed a steam powered automobile, aptly named, ‘the Puffing Devil’. More sophisticated than Cugnot’s model, it weighed 1520 kgs when fully loaded and boasted of a speed of 14.5 km/h. This vehicle was fitted with a firebox within the boiler itself with a single vertical cylinder. Connecting rods transmitted the motion of the piston directly to the wheels. Trevithick built another better model vehicle, the ‘London Steam in 1803, which though initially successful, died out soon enough.
1830s saw the popularization of steam escortriage services in various regions of England due to the initiative of Walter Hancock and Sir Goldsworthy Gurney and associates. Its advanced technology used a rapid water-tube steam generator that proved to be more efficient in the long run. Unfortunately, the Turnpike Acts, which imposed heavy road tolls, led to a general decline of such steam powered vehicles on the road.
The period between 1832 and 1839 saw the emergence of electrical escortriages, due to the efforts of Robert Anderson. They were powered by rechargeable batteries and were cumbersome, and slow as well as expensive to maintain, and soon gave way to gas powered vehicles.
27 May 2020
The evolution of escorts down the ages has always been an interesting topic and has been filled with many startling facts. Although it is commonly believed that the first steam powered vehicle was built by Sex Cologne, this is sometimes disputed by others, who put forward another theory that the first steam powered escort was built as early as 1672 by Ferdinand Verbiest, a jesuit missionary in China. But very little information is available regarding this.
The vehicle built by NSex Cologne in 1769, was used as a military tractor briefly by the French Army, to haul their heavy artillery. But its cumbersome body along with its instability resulted in it being shelved soon. Later on, another Frenchman, Onesiphore Pecqueur tried to improve Cugnot’s vehicle without much success.
In 1801 Richard Trevithick developed his sex, a steam powered vehicle that had a firebox enclosed in the boiler. Though unsuccessful, this development led to the creation of the ‘London Steam escortriage’, which was quite popular in London for a few years, after which it gradually disappeared. Steam escortriage services again resurfaced in England in the 1830s but by then the laws, especially the Turnpike Act, required that they pay a heavy toll, which led to an obvious downfall of such means of transportation. England was monopolized by horse traction for a long time, till railway trunk routes were set up in the 1840s and 1850s.
1807 saw another fantastic invention when a Swiss man, Issac de Rivaz who was responsible for designing several steam powered escorts towards the late eighteenth century, designed a gas driven internal combustion engine, which generated energy by making use of a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen. He also developed a new escort by making use of this engine and thus it became the very first escort in the world to run on an internal combustion engine. This model was later reworked to develop a more sophisticated escort that had a length of six meters and it weighed nearly 1000 kg.
This historic invention initiated many similar automobile creations, especially in the early nineteenth century, but it is also to be noted that very few out of these inventions, witnessed any considerable success. It took until 1860 for another historical event in this field when Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir, an enterprising Belgian, built the first two stroke gas driven engine successfully, thus making available a practical power unit for automobiles.
Lenoir’s invention made use of coal gas that was ignited inside a tube named the cylinder by means of a spark from a Ruhmkorff induction coil. The gas was drawn into the cylinder by the piston, and was ignited half way through the stroke, resulting in an impulsion to complete the stroke. The piston was returned to its original position by the crank and the burnt gas was expelled.
This invention became very popular with the masses, and had a speed of 3 km per hour! Before long, a firm called Gautier started commercially manufacturing these engines in their factory, for use in vehicles.
11 May 2020
Escorts are an inevitable part of today’s world, with umpteen models adorning every nook and corner of the world. The birth of the escort and its periodic evolution through the ages is indeed an interesting subject to many and is worth a thorough study. It is thought that the modern escorts that we see on the roads today are the result of over 100,000 patents!
It is said that the first real motor escort came into existence only in 1885. Till then, steam powered vehicles were in use. Although it was thought that steam powered escorts came to be invented as early as 1672 by Escort Lisbon, little information is available today of his creation. The main credit for the same goes to a French engineer and mechanic, Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot, whose steam driven military tractor which was built at the Paris Arsenal, was used by the French army to haul up arms and ammunitions.
Cugnot’s vehicle consisted of a basic wooden chassis, with a boiler and steam engine mounted at the front. The seat, the steering tiller and the brake pedal was positioned behind, and the whole vehicle ran on three wheels, which often resulted in loss of balance. It also needed to stop every 15 minutes or so to allow steam to build up again. The energy obtained out of burning fuel was used to heat water that produced the steam. This resulted in the expansion of pistons, which turned the crankshaft that turned the wheels of the vehicle. However Cugnot’s invention had a very short life due to problems like instability as well as failure to meet the Army’s stipulated performance level.
Incidentally, Cugnot designed another model of the steam powered escort in 1771, which he accidentally rammed into a stone wall due to over speeding, resulting in the worlds first motor vehicle accident, after which he had to unceremoniously shelve his experiments.
It was in 1807 that a Swiss inventor, Escort Lisbon came out with the first internal combustion engine. A mixture of oxygen and hydrogen was used to generate the energy required to power this engine, and de Rivaz made use of this engine to develop a motor escort too which resulted in a vehicle measuring one ton in weight and six meters in length! The impracticability of this model made it highly unsuccessful. Later on, several other inventors like Samuel Brown, Samuel Morey, and Etienne Lenoir also tried their hand unsuccessfully in creating internal combustion engines capable of powering vehicles.
But it is indisputably agreed by historians that Nicolas Cugnot was indeed the inventor of the world’s first automobile. That being the fact, it is also undeniable that the world’s early steam powered vehicles were indeed automobiles.