Automotive Advancements to Be Thankful For


red antique car in the fall

With cars comes technology. Compare a modern car to an antique. You’re likely to find a number of different and older technologies that don’t compare to their advancements. It’s also easy to take them for granted. So let’s take a moment to reflect on some great technologies that have made our lives easier and our driving experience much better.

Electric Starter

According to GM, the electric starter first appeared in the 1912 Cadillac Touring Edition. Before electric starters made start-up easy, engines needed to be wound by a hand crank capable of kickbacks that had enough force to break a human bone. We no longer have to worry about potentially breaking an arm each time we need to start the car. I, for one, am thankful for that.

Modern Heating

The ingenuity of using the blower motor and heater core together have made warm interiors possible for a long time. The blower motor simply transfers the heat from the heater core into the cabin in the form of hot air. This makes you hot and your coolant cool, which helps cool the engine. While the design hasn’t changed much, modern heating systems have improved so that some cars can warm up within minutes. And they’re much safer.

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Power Steering

Ever drive without power steering? It’s like trying to turn with an iron weight in place of your steering wheel. The problem is you’re on the street in a vehicle with traffic around you, and it’s really not the best time to be doing triceps. In short, it’s a real workout.

The wonders of power steering changed everything, and it’s what gives turning the steering wheel such an effortless feel. Because, in reality, using a steering wheel while trying to turn a 4,000 pound machine actually takes a lot of force, and we’re lucky enough to not have to feel that.

Power Windows

Like many standard features today, power windows first appeared as a luxury, and according to Kelley Blue Book, this time in the 1940 Packard 180 Series. Without power windows, rolling down a window manually with a crank took time and effort, and I think we can all agree it’s a lot easier to do that with the push of a button. While some cars still have manual window regulators, power featured windows are so common that rolling down a window any other way just doesn’t seem right.


This timeline by Motorola says the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation offered radios for cars, known as the Motorola, by 1930. And Justin Berkowitz at Car and Driver notes the first car radio with FM in 1952. Today we can listen to talk-shows, music, news, sports broadcasts, and more with the simple press of a button. And that’s pretty cool.

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