About the Author

David Blanke is Joe B. Frantz Associate Professor of History at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He earned his BS at the University of Kentucky and his MA and PhD at Loyola University Chicago.

Rise of the Automobile

Internal Combustion Engine (1909)


The New York Public Library's Digital Gallery created "Taking the Wheel: Manufacturers' Catalogs from the First Decade of American Automobiles" from its vast holdings. The following image is a schematic drawing of an internal combustion engine in 1909. Noting its complexity and detail, students might try, like Henry Ford, to think through ways that they could manufacture such an intricate machine. Remembering that an internal combustion engine is simply the application of fuel, air, and a spark, can students examine how this design produces the effect of power?


Franklin Car. "Plate No. 5 - K-3-4 Engine/" 1909. From the Digital Gallery, New York Public Library.