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Gas Engines, Steam Engines and Electric Motors In American Automobiles

1954 Ford 1939 Trucks and Earlier
Model T Trucks
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In the late 1800s and early 1900s there were three ways to move an American Automobile forward.

(1)The Gasoline Engine, also known as "The Internal Combustion Engine" in which fuel combusts in the combustion chamber.

(2)The Steam Engine, also known as "The External Combustion Engine" in which combustion takes place under a boiler, separate from the engine.

(3)The Electric Motor, obtained its power from an electric storage battery.

Below is a diagram of the three main types of early gas engines, steam engines and electric motors that powered the American Automobile in the early years. Fuel for the gas engines and steam engines was usually gas, gasoline, kerosene or oil.

Gas Engines, Steam Engines and Electric Motors
Gas Engines, Steam Engines and Electric Motors
That Powered The American Automobile

Early gas engines were small single cylinder engines, two cylinder engines, V-Twin engines and 3 cylinder engines. By 1900 many American Automobiles used four cylinder and six cylinder engines. In the 1910s and 1920s more straight eight cylinder engines, V-eight cylinder engines, straight 12 cylinder engines and V-12 engines were used.

Steam engines usually had one or two cylinders on most late 1800s and early 1900s Steam Cars. Electric cars used one motor on rear axle, two motors on rear axle or four motor on all four axles. Today Electric Cars are gaining popularity. Perhaps we can take some lesson for the early 1900 Electric Cars.

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