Automobiles are machines that move people from one place to another. They were first invented in the late 1800s in Germany and France, and gained popularity throughout the world during the 20th century. The first mass-produced automobile was the Model T, an American automobile made by the Ford Motor Company. It replaced horse-drawn carriages in the United States, and it was widely available and affordable in Europe and other parts of the world by the 1920s. After World War II, automobile production increased greatly in both the US and in other parts of the world. Eventually, automobiles were considered essential to developed economies.
In the late nineteenth century, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach developed bicycles with engines. They patented this contraption and marketed it to the public as the Daimler Reitwagen. This automobile was a direct answer to the dream of the self-propelling carriage. The bicycle itself was a revolutionary invention, and the automobile incorporated a horizontal single-cylinder gasoline engine to power steerable front wheels. The ignition system was placed in a central position, and the rear wheel was powered by a drive chain.
There are many different types of automobiles. One type is a motorcycle, which is auto-propelled, and can only carry a small number of passengers. Some motorcycles also have sidecars. A motorcycle is not an automobile, however, and many court cases have determined that motorcycles are not automobiles.