Timeline of transportation technology

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Middle Ages[edit]

  • 800 – The streets of Baghdad are paved with tar.
  • Late 10th century – Kamal invented in Arab world.
  • 1044 – Compass invented in China
  • 13th century (or before) – Rocket invented in China.
  • 1350 – Compass dial invented by Ibn al-Shatir.
  • 15th century - Jan Žižka built the precursor to the motorised tank - armoured wagons equipped with cannons.
  • Late 16th century - European sailing ships become advanced enough to reliably cross oceans.

17th century[edit]

  • 1620 – Cornelius Drebbel builds the world's first known submarine, which is propelled by oars (although there are earlier ideas for and depictions of submarines).
  • 1662 – Blaise Pascal invents a horse-drawn public bus which has a regular route, schedule, and fare system
  • 1672 – Ferdinand Verbiest have built what may have been the first steam-powered car[1][2]

18th century[edit]

19th century[edit]

  • 1801 – Richard Trevithick ran a full-sized steam 'road locomotive' on the road in Camborne, England[4]
  • 1803 – Richard Trevithick built his 10-seater London Steam Carriage[4]
  • 1803 – William Symington's Charlotte Dundas, generally considered to be the world's first practical steamboat, makes her first voyage.
  • 1804 – Richard Trevithick built a prototype steam-powered railway locomotive and it ran on the Pen-y-Darren Line near Merthyr Tydfil Wales
  • 1804 – Oliver Evans (claimed to have) demonstrated a steam-powered amphibious vehicle.
  • 1807 – Robert Fulton's North River Steamboat, the world's first commercially successful steamboat, makes her maiden voyage.
  • 1807 – Nicéphore Niépce installed his Pyréolophore internal combustion engine in a boat and powered up the river Saone in France.
  • 1807 – Isaac de Rivas made a hydrogen gas powered internal combustion engine and mounted it on a vehicle.
  • 1812 - First commercially successful self-propelled engine on Land was Mathew Murray's Salamanca on Middleton-Leeds Railway using toothed wheels and rail
  • 1812 - Timothy Hackworth's "Puffing Billy" ran on smooth Cast Iron Rails at Wylam Colliery near Newcastle
  • 1814 – George Stephenson built the first practical steam-powered railway locomotive "Blutcher" at Killingworth Colliery.[5]
  • 1816 – The most likely originator of the bicycle is the German, Baron Karl von Drais, who rode his 1816 machine while collecting taxes from his tenants.
  • 1819 – SS Savannah, the first vessel to cross the Atlantic Ocean partly under steam power, arrives at Liverpool, England from Savannah, Georgia.
  • 1822 - Stevenson built a locomotive and designed the railway for Hetton Colliery which is first railway not to use any horse-traction but it did have several rope hauled sections.
  • 1822 - First Meeting of Liverpool Manchester Railway Company Permanent Committee.[6]
  • 1825 Stevenson's Locomotion runs on Stockton Darlington railway which opens as first Public railway and uses horses and self-propelled steam engines and stationary engines with ropes along a single track. No stations and no timetables as anyone could hire the track to use their own vehicle on it.[7]
  • 1825 - Sir Goldsworthy Gurney invented a series of steam-powered passenger carriages and by 1829 completed the 120-mile journey from London to Bath, Somerset and back.
  • 1826 - Bill passed for Liverpool Manchester railway at second attempt and George Stevenson commences work on 35 mile twin track line permitting simultaneous travel in both directions between the 2 towns. Means of traction not specified to reduce opposition.[8]
  • 1828 - Stevenson's "Lancashire Witch" runs on Bolton Leigh line - a public goods line to connect Leeds Liverpool canal and Manchester Bury and Bolton canal. Railway has rope hauled and self-propelled steam engines and single track.[9]
  • 1829 - Rainhill Trials to find best self-propelled engine for Liverpool Manchester line are won by Robert Stephenson's Rocket proving there is no need for horse traction or static engines on the main line.[10] Rocket becomes basic formula for all future steam engines with boiler tubes, blast pipe, and the use of coal rather than coke.
  • 1830 - Liverpool and Manchester Railway opens. First public transport system without animal traction, first public line with no rope hauled sections for main journey, first twin track, first railway between 2 large towns, first timetabled trains, first railway stations, first train faster than a mail coach, first tunnels under streets, first proper modern railway which formed the template for all subsequent railways.[11]
  • 1838 – Isambard Kingdom Brunel's SS Great Western, the first purpose-built transatlantic steamship, inaugurates the first regular transatlantic steamship service.
  • 1852 – Elisha Otis invents the safety elevator.
  • 1853 – Sir George Cayley built and demonstrated the first heavier-than-air aircraft (a glider)
  • 1862 – Étienne Lenoir made a gasoline engine automobile
  • 1863 - London's Metropolitan Railway opened to the public as the world's first underground railway
  • 1867 - first modern motorcycle was invented
  • 1868 – George Westinghouse invented the compressed-air brake for railway trains.
  • 1868 – Louis-Guillaume Perreaux's steam velocipede, a steam engine attached to a Michaux velocipede.[12]
  • 1880 – Werner von Siemens builds first electric elevator.
  • 1883 - Karl Benz invents the first car powered by an internal combustion engine, he called it the Benz Patent Motorwagen.
  • 1894 – Hildebrand & Wolfmüller became the first motorcycle available to the public for purchase.
  • 1896 – Jesse W. Reno builds first escalator at Coney Island, and then reinstalls it on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • 1897 – Charles Parsons' Turbinia, the first vessel to be powered by a steam turbine, makes her debut.
  • 1897 – The most likely first electric bicycle was built in 1897 by Hosea W. Libbey.[13]
  • 1899 - Ferdinand von Zeppelin builds the first successful airship [14]

20th century[edit]

21st century[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "1679–1681 – R P Verbiest's Steam Chariot". History of the Automobile: origin to 1900. Hergé. Retrieved 8 May 2009. 
  2. ^ Setright, L. J. K. (2004). Drive On!: A Social History of the Motor Car. Granta Books. ISBN 1-86207-698-7. 
  3. ^ "HOVERCRAFT BILL (Hansard, 16 May 1968)". Hansard.millbanksystems.com. Retrieved 3 May 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c C.D. Buchanan (1958). "1". Mixed Blessing: The Motor in Britain. Leonard Hill. 
  5. ^ Smiles, Samuel (1906). UK: The Folio Society. p. 256. ISBN 0-7153-4279-7.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Thomas, RHG (1980). The Liverpool and Manchester Railway. UK: BT Batsford Ltd. p. 15. ISBN 0713405376. 
  7. ^ Smiles, Samuel (2006). The Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The Folio Society. pp. 268–270. ISBN 0-7153-4279-7. 
  8. ^ Carlson, Robert (1969). The Liverpool and Manchester Railway Project. UK: David and Charles :Newton Abbot. p. 179. ISBN 0 7153 4646 6. 
  9. ^ Thomas, RHG (1980). The Liverpool and Manchester Railway. UK: BT Batsford Ltd. p. 95. ISBN 07134 05376. 
  10. ^ Thomas, RHG (1980). The Liverpool and Manchester Railway. UK: BT Batsford Ltd. p. 75. ISBN 07134 05376. 
  11. ^ Carlson, Robert (1969). The Liverpool and Manchester Railway Project 1821–1831. Newton Abbot: David and Charles. pp. 11–16. ISBN 0 7153 4646 6. 
  12. ^ Falco, Charles M.; Guggenheim Museum Staff (1998), "Issues in the Evolution of the Motorcycle", in Krens, Thomas; Drutt, Matthew, The Art of the Motorcycle, Harry N. Abrams, pp. 24–31, 98–101, ISBN 0-89207-207-5 
  13. ^ Electric Bicycle Guide
  14. ^ a b "The First Zeppelins: LZ-1 through LZ-4". Airships.net. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  15. ^ "World War One: The tank's secret Lincoln origins". BBC News. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  16. ^ Glanfield, Appendix 2.
  17. ^ The DC-3 Archived 5 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine.