The Duryea Automobile is the first American-designed gasoline engine in automobiles. Henry Ford did not invent the gasoline automobile, but he did invent a way to mass-produce the automobile on an assembly line that made them affordable to average Americans as opposed to the very wealthy ones.
As the world’s second gasoline automobile “the Duryea Automobile” was a gift to the Smithsonian Institute in 1920, and later transferred by the newly built National Museum of American History during 1960s; nevertheless, the Duryea Automobile is still operational today.
Originally, the brothers were bicycle makers interested in the new gasoline engines and automobiles. Karl Benz, of Germany, is the inventor of the first gasoline powered car, but after a few national pride comments it led to a Car Race.
The First American Automobile Race, a cross-country race (54 miles in 10 hours at average speed of 7.3 miles an hour) was between the American Duryea automobile and the German Benz automobile and all breakdowns were repaired on the road.
However, Frank Duryea was declared the winner of the race and received the $2000 dollar prize money, the results of that race has been disputed to this day. The crowd renamed that automobile from the “horseless carriage” to the “motorcycle.”
Charles E. Duryea and J. Frank Duryea were the first in America to build a successful commercial gasoline automobile, and the first to incorporate an American business for the expressed purpose of manufacturing automobiles for sale to the public, named the “Duryea Motor Wagon Co,” in 1896.
However, the Duryea brothers broke all ties at the end of the century over a non-reconcilable argument between them, causing the sale of their company to pursue separate interests in the auto industry.
The dispute arose over the final design drawings by Frank, who sent them to his brother for copyright, but only Charles’ name appeared on the copyright document endless lawsuits followed.
The innovated Duryea automobile’s one-cylinder, four-cycle, four-horsepower, water-cooled gasoline engine arranged mostly horizontally underneath the four-wheeled carriage chassis body has metal tires with a buggy top. The company evolved into creating an auto body rather than converting buggy parts.
In 1896, they were the first American company that evolved from manufacturing one car to making multiple copies for sale. The Duryea Motor Wagon Company constructed 13 identical automobiles, if interested … visit the “first American gasoline engine car in America” at the National Museum of American History and see the America on the Move Collection.