Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Interesting thoughts on automobiles

Like the carriage industry, however, the bicycle industry contributed people, components, capital, and ideas to automotive transportation. In addition, the bicycle created demand for the automobile.

All-in-all as much as two-thirds of the total automotive production in the late 1920's was displacing horse and rail transportation.

1895 was a historical year, the reason why we did not build road vehicles before was because the bicycle had not yet come in numbers and had not directed men's minds to the possibilities of independent long-distance travel over the ordinary highway.

We thought the railroad was good enough.

The bicycle created a new demand which was beyond the ability of the railroad to supply. Then it came about that the bicycle could not satisfy the demand which it had created.

A mechanically propelled vehicle was wanted instead of a foot-propelled one, and we know now that the automobile was the answer.

Auto sales were blazing while the car replaced the horse, bicycle, and train transportation; then became stagnant when the replacement was complete. Stagnation occurred at the point of one car per family. After WW2 auto sales re-established by an increased need for personal transportation, and the interstate system brought about as a great depression public works program to decrease unemployment while improving the infrastructure.

Another spike in car sales occurred when in 1973 the baby boomer generation reached car buying age.

By 1925, the average auto accumulated over 25,000 miles before it headed to the junk yard, by 1930 about 40,000.

Common rules of the road and associated symbols like the octagonal stop sign were also developed during the first growth phase.

The roads themselves were paved.

Installment financing became popular even though most banks opposed it at the time.

Independent auto dealers became the main distribution channel and service stations began popping up.

The primary objective of most affiliated innovations was to make the automobile easier to own and operate. As vehicles were produced which had the capabilities, and the low price, required to replace other means of transportation, people began to buy them for everyday use.

The sales of refrigerators rose sharply from 1925 to 1935, from practically none to 2 million, allowing groceries to be bought in bulk that would stay fresh longer, requiring a means of transportation for the loads of groceries... at a time when buying in bulk quantities became cheaper than an equal number of single unit sales. Buying groceries in large quantities spawned the supermarket, which killed the corner store, necessitating a vehicle to travel farther to get to the supermarket.

Increasing numbers of suburbs after the civil war were made possible by cable cars, via electricity... suburbs outstripped the availability of public transportation... which increased the demand for a car as a necessity and ended the concept of the car as a luxury.