Throwback Thursday

On June 4, 1896, Henry Ford took his new invention, the "Quadricycle," out of his garage for the first time. It was early morning, at around 4 a.m., when he unveiled his four-wheeled car to the world.

Ford had been working for the Edison Illuminating Company as its chief engineer when he started to build the invention. As chief engineer, Ford needed to be on call 24 hours a day to make sure that Detroit had a constant supply of electricity. The flexible schedule gave him the time to experiment with his idea for a horseless carriage powered by a gasoline engine.

Ford became interested in gasoline engines after seeing an article about them in the American Machinist magazine of November 1895. Later, in March 1896, a different Detroit-based engineer, Charles King, unveiled a horseless, gasoline-powered carriage made of wood. Seeing it inspired Ford to build a better, lighter and faster one.

The Car Could Not Fit Through the Shed Door

Ford got together with a group of friends, including Charles King, to bring his vision for the automobile into realization. By June 4, 1896, Ford was ready to test drive his metal framed vehicle, which was equipped with four bicycle wheels and a four-horsepower, two-cylinder gas engine. Funny enough, Ford and his assistant discovered that the door of the shed where they assembled the vehicle was two small to get it outside, so Ford widened the shed's brick wall with an axe until it was big enough to remove the Quadricycle.

First Drive Was an Enormous Success

Ford drove the 500-pound vehicle with his assistant riding a bicycle in front, to warn pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages to get out of he way. The Quadricycle could not go in reverse, it had no brakes, and it only had two speeds. However, it could drive an incredible speed of 20 miles per hour -- much faster than Charles King's first car. The first drive was enormously successful aside from one broken spring, and -- as history tells us -- Ford and his cars would later become an enormous success as well.

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