Thread Starter


Joined Aug 1, 2013
May 5, 2016

The early part of the century a time of rampant technological change, with new ideas, inventions, and refinements bursting upon the world at a dizzying pace, straining the social and economic fabrics of the time. I’m speaking, of course, of the 1900’s and the automobile. In 1910 there were over 75 manufacturers of automobiles in the US, rising to 175 by 1922.

In the late 1800’s the basis for the modern automobile emerged from the primordial tech-ooze with one engine, four wheels, steering, brakes, and a clutch. Early on they noticed that without a clutch, the engine died at every stop. Next came a basic gear box (transmission) to improve system efficiency, reduce noise and pollution, etc. An early problem that still is around today in old dump trucks is the sound of the gears grinding together while trying to mesh when shifting. This happens because the two halves of the transmission are turning at different speeds, and the teeth of the gears are not synchronized.

To solve this, Cadillac invented the Synchromesh Transmission. This was a big deal, and Cadillac’s lawyers made sure that it was not copied for almost five years. Caddy introduced the new marvel in 1933 at the start of the country’s climb out of the Great Depression, and meeting demand was a problem. It was three years before the first car was sold in Mexico, 80 years ago today, Synchro de Mayo.