MOTOR VEHICLE, a wagon or car riage carrying a motor or engine which furnishes power for locomotion of the wagon upon the roads or highways, with out a track.
The two general classes into which motoy vehicles are divided are those whiCh are designed to move freight, usu ally called trucks, and those which are saw the development of the steam coach in England. The work of Walter Han cock between the years 1824 and 1836 was a great factor in the early de velopment of this type of vehicle. He first perfected a type of boiler lighter for its power than those then existing, and then made a three-wheeled carriage, the engine being located above and di rectly connected to the single front wheel. In the next model, produced by Hancock, the engine turned a shaft and power was supplied to two rear wheels by chains. The carriage was steered by the single front wheel. Various other models were brought forth by Hancock, each new model bringing out new ideas and improvements on the old type of construction. The more improved models were used for passenger service, and for over twenty weeks regular service was maintained between Islington and Strat ford.
Sir Charles Dance and Goldsworthy Gurney made a coach in which the engine was suspended underneath the body of the coach, and the power supplied the driving wheels by a machine not unlike the crank arrangement of a modern locomotive. Gurney developed the coach used for passenger transportation, which are called cars.
The early steam engine suggested a mechanically propelled road machine. Sir Isaac Newton proposed such a machine as early as 1680, while comparatively suc cessful models were built in England by Nathan Read in 1790, and by Nicholas James Cugnot in France at the same time. One of Cugnot's early models is still preserved by the French Govern ment.
The early part of the 19th century itself, while the work of Dance was the improvement of the water-tube boiler.
Some of these early models required a crew of three or four men, weighed eight to ten tons, carried eighteen or twenty passengers, and had driving wheels five feet in diameter. Progress at this time was hindered by the enact ment of various restraining road regu lations. Some years later various types of electric carriages, which carried a storage battery supplying power to a small motor, were operated with more or less success, and lighter types of steam carriages made their appearance in Eng land, France, and the United States.
Soon after Gottlieb Daimler's improve ments to the light-weight internal-com bustion engine, it was suggested that this power be applied to a road carriage. In 1895 U. S. Patent No. 549160 was granted to George B. Selden, of Roch ester, N. Y., for the application of the internal-combustion engine to a self-pro pelled vehicle. The original application for this patent had been made years sides and doors than in the earlier models. The first tonneau doors were placed at the rear, but because of incon venience of entering, and possible im provement in seating arrangement, doors were soon placed on the sides, which practice is still followed to-day. Doors have been added to the front compart ment, and the modern touring car—the most popular model of the day—has gradually developed.
An early tendency was to produce models with bulging curved lines, which before it was granted. The patent was very broad in its scope, and included the use of a clutch and gears for the application of the power. For many years all gasoline cars were manufac tured on a royalty basis, but in 1904 a group of manufacturers, headed by Henry Ford of Detroit, Mich., contested the validity of the patent. Testimony was taken for over four years, and the first decision favored Mr. Selden, but in 1911 Justice Noyes denied the right of the patent.
The passenger or motor vehicle which preceded the freight-carrying truck, made its first modern appearance in the form of a runabout, which was an adaptation of the style of the horse-drawn runabout then popular, although the carryall type was soon utilized for four passengers. Advancement in design soon developed the tonneau, in which more protection was given the passengers by means of gave the impression of great bulk. The modern tendency, where metal is used for body construction in place of the early wood, is to use either straight lines, or lines resembling those used in yacht design, called stream lines, producing models of much more grace and trimness.