With so many cars on the road in America, it can be easy to forget that automobiles are a relatively recent invention. In 1899, for instance, American manufacturers produced just 2,500 vehicles. Thanks to Henry Ford and his production lines, closer to half a million cars were produced in the U.S. by 1913. A century later, there are more than 260 million registered vehicles in the country.
As the use of cars has grown over the past 100 years or so, our entire way of life has changed to accommodate them. There were roads, of course, then safety devices like traffic lights or stop signs. Then came things like speed limits, safety gear, pollution control standards and crash test dummies. Eventually, people realized that drinking and driving didn't mix, leading to the introduction of DUI laws. Along the way, new technologies were developed, including talking cars, car phones, V8 engines and electric vehicles.
How familiar are you with this history? Do you know what the first mass-produced vehicle in the U.S. was, or what company introduced the three-point seat belt? Any idea when the first joystick-controlled ride, or earliest talking cars hit the streets? What about the introduction of the first parking meter or traffic light?
Think you know everything about the biggest auto industry firsts? Take our quiz to find out!