Automobiles, a term under which are comprised horseless carriages, motor vans, motor omnibus, and all the motor traction vehicles adapted for use on ordinary roads having no rails. Electricity, steam, and gasoline or naptha are the three main sources of power that do the bidding of the man behind the lever. Other sources of power, such as compressed air, liquid air, carbonic acid gas and alcohol, have been experimented with; but are regarded as impracticable by experts. The modern automobile, which was led up to by the bicycle with its rubber tires, found its first great development in France, encouraged by the perfection of highways in that country. The U.S. Government census report for the year 1909 gives the automobile output for the year as $249,202,000; number of persons employed, 75,721; number of cars manufactured, 119,000. In 1911 the production in the United States was 209,957 automobiles, and manufacturers say the total number will reach over 247,000 in 1912, with a gross valuation of about $500,000,000. In addition to the home production, large quantities of vehicles are imported from Europe. The accessory side of automobiling shows nearly 1,000 manufacturers, with over $200,000,000 capitalization, exclusive of the rubber companies. Since the year 1910 great progress has been made in the development of the commercial automobile for light delivery and heavy trucking purposes.

Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.