A Classification of American Wealth
History and genealogy of the wealthy families of America - Sponsors

 Part 1 : Colonial and Mercantile America  Part 2 : America in the Gilded Age
 Part 2 : America in the Twentieth Century  Encyclopedia of American Wealth

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  Part III-Chapter 13 : Automobile & Aviation  >   Index and Introduction  :    Previous  1 2 - 3 - 45   Next

Automobile and Aviation 

    Note : For the time being only the first part of this chapter, about America's automobile tycoons is
                featured here The second part treating about American aviation pioneers who rose to big 
                wealth will be added at a later stage.

The Selden Patent - case of a failed monopoly (coming soon)
The Ford Story
Part I : The rise of Henry Ford  
             Part II : Edsel Ford and his children - an automotive dynasty (coming later)
General Motors
William Crapo Durant - the founder of General Motors  
        The GM Crowd - multi-millionaire executives (coming later)
Other automobile tycoons
(coming later) :
The Dodge Brothers and their legacy
             Walter Percy Chrysler - founder of the Big Third
             John North Willys' empire
             The Studebakers : from wagon makers to automobile manufacturers
             Packard - rise and fall of an automotive institution
             CharlesW. Nash - successful independent
             The Chapins - from Hudson to American Motors
             Errett Lobbean Cord - latecomer among the founders  

From the Encyclopedia of American Wealth
Thematic list : Automobile Tycoons (1919)  
Family profiles : Dodge - Fisher - Ford 

If one technology had to be singled out to mark the beginning of the Twentieth Century and the ensuing modern American Way of Life, it would be the automobile. No invention of that time brought more change to mankind, and America, with its long distances and wide open spaces was more eager to adopt it than any other nation in the world. Cars, as horseless carriages first a curiosity, became an essential factor in the development of our nation, both in relation to consumption and as the powerful industry they created.

The automobile was a key factor of social emancipation, as it permitted the individual (farmer, small businessman and common consumer) to by-pass the highways of commerce, which at turn of the 20th century were controlled by an oligarchy of railroad and steamship magnates. Together with increased government regulation, the popularization of the automobile (cars and trucks) ended the predominance of the large railroad trusts in America (and elsewhere) and contributed to the establishment of a new social order : the emergence of the Middle Class.

This development was not that obvious in the beginnings though. Although the first steam carriage appeared in America as early as 1861 (built by Sylvester H. Roper in Roxbury, Massachusetts), it would take another thirty years until functional electric (William Morrison's) or gasoline (Frank Duryea's) carriages appeared on America's streets. The establishment of an actual automotive industry, as an offspring of the wagon and carriage manufacturing business, came with the Duryea Motor Wagon Company (of Springfield, Massachusetts) in 1895, the first in America to be organized with the purpose of manufacturing gasoline powered cars.

Automobile & Aviation >   Index and Introduction  :   Previous  1 2 - 3 - 45  Next

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