Cars. They have been around for over 100 years, I know that. But does anyone know the exact date and year that cars were invented? That is my question and I would like responses. Thank you.

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    Please specify precisely what characteristics you believe define the first car. The evolution of the modern vehicle is a long and torturous trail, with many dead-ends early on. For instance, must the specified car be a direct ancestor of a modern automobile? Must it be gasoline powered? Must it use an internal combustion engine or can it use an external combustion engine? How many passengers must it carry (in addition to the driver)? Apr 24 '14 at 1:54
  • A vehicle that can carry people? Good comment Pieter. How about "Nevertheless the story that a pair of Yorkshiremen, engineer Robert Fourness and his cousin, physician James Ashworth had a steam carriage running in 1788, after being granted a British Patent, No.1674 of December 1788, crops up.". This is not well documeted but the patent did exist. Apr 24 '14 at 8:59
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    What research have you done? have you consulted wikipedia? Google?
    – MCW
    Apr 24 '14 at 10:37
  • impossible to answer. Something like a car isn't invented on a specific day or even at all, it evolves from somenthing else over a period of time. And even if it it, that date isn't going to be on any documents. At best you might find the date the first patent was granted, or the first article in a newspaper about it, both of which will be an indeterminate time later.
    – jwenting
    Apr 25 '14 at 6:27

Wikipedia attributes the first automobile to Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, invented in 1769:

enter image description here

It apparently didn't have much passing power, as the top speed was specified at a blazing fast 4.8 miles per hour and it didn't achieve that in practice.


After a bit of searching, I found a reference to a specific date that the testing started, which is given as October 20th, 1769 at the Paris Arsenal. Note that there aren't any citations given on the page, so I can't verify it (even if I could read French). The original concept seems to have been proposed in Cugnot's 1766 book Éléments de l'art militaire ancien et moderne, although work didn't begin until a commission was granted in 1769. I can't locate the date that the commission was given, but if you read French, this document might be a good starting point for more research.

  • Thank you. This is very helpful. I am not trying to push it, but an exact date would also be nice. However, the information you gave me seems to be very helpful too and I appreciate it.
    – Mack Buck
    Apr 24 '14 at 1:40
  • @MackBuck - See edit.
    – Comintern
    Apr 24 '14 at 2:31
  • @MackBuck an exact date for what? There's no way to find documents for when someone exactly came up with an idea, or even made the first sketches on the back of a cigar box. Which would be your 'invention date'.
    – jwenting
    Apr 25 '14 at 6:29

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