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Karl Benz

Since the first car was developed in 1885, a number of improvements have been made. The car designed by Karl Benz looks ancient compared with today's streamlined and slick models. It only had three wheels; one at the front, which steered the vehicle, and two at the rear.

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People often laughed at Benz when he was first testing his car. He would often drive into walls because the car was extremely difficult to control. Benz kept trying, however, and went on to invent the carburettor, the ignition, the accelerator, the clutch, the gear shift and the radiator.

Lanchester and the brake

Although the first car was created in 1885, it was not until 1901 that the brake was invented. The brake allows a car to slow down and stop. The brake was invented by Frederick William Lanchester. Before 1901, none of the cars that were being driven and tested had brakes. No wonder Benz was crashing his car into walls all the time!

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Galvin's car radio

In 1929, the car radio was created. The car radio did not come with the car, it had to be bought separately. This luxury invention was created by Paul Galvin. The car radio allowed people to listen to their favourite programmes while cruising along the road.

Electric indicators

Indicators became a standard feature of the car in 1939. Indicators are electric lights that help drivers to alert other people which way they are going. Could you imagine the chaos that would take place on the roads if indicators had not been invented? People use indicators when they are changing lanes or making a turn.

Car air-conditioning

Air-conditioning was introduced to cars in 1940. This invention made cars a lot more comfortable, especially on really hot days. At first, the air-conditioning was a little bit awkward. To turn the air-conditioner off, the driver had to stop the car, get out and disconnect a tube located under the bonnet.

Safety: the seat belt

In 1956, the seat belt was installed into the car. Australia was the first country to make seat belts compulsory in all vehicles. The seat belt did not become compulsory in the United States until 1968.

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Safety: the air bag

Another important safety inclusion to the car was the airbag. The airbag was first installed in 1971 by the Ford Motor Company. Airbags were designed to stop people from being injured on some part of the vehicle's interior. The airbag works by rapidly inflating at the point of collision. Airbags help prevent the risk of serious injury.

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Cars: now and then

Since the invention of the first automobile in 1885, there have been a number of additions and improvements. Today, cars are a lot safer and more reliable than they once were. Could you imagine being in a car that didn't have brakes or indicators? There would be madness and chaos on the roads.

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