Many such technologies may lay claim to having been the key milestones in this path of human development. These claims are validated by the impact they have had on human beings and the changes in societal patterns that have resulted from such technological inventions and discoveries. The invention of the wheel is often considered as that which has had the greatest impact on human progress (1). In the same line of thought then the invention of the internal combustion engine has a strong impact on the sped and direction of human progress since its invention, not so long ago in the history of human progress.
The impact of the internal combustion engine on human progress has been on a broad. Within the limits of this paper it is not possible to deal with every aspect of social impact that the invention of the internal combustion has. Therefore, this paper limits itself to evaluating the social impact of the gas powered internal combustion engine from the limited perspective of contribution to human progress in overland transportation, with particular emphasis on automobiles and the manner in which it has impacted on society.
The basic technology involved in the internal combustion engine can be truly said to be derived from the gunpowder engine developed in the seventeenth century. Two centuries were to elapse before the technology involved in the gunpowder engine could be harnessed into the internal combustion engine. ...
Though passenger cars were developed using steam engine, the best use of steam engines was seen in the engines developed for hauling the locomotives of the train. The deficiencies of large engine size and lower efficiency made the steam engines unsuitable for widespread use in passenger vehicles. By the second half of the nineteenth century the search was on for a more efficient engine (2) Technological advances occur in what appears to be a predetermined sequence, one setting the ground for the other, and when the right idea is seeded into this advance of technology, further advances are made (3). The fundamental idea of the internal combustion engine gas was conceived through the principles contained in the gunpowder engine and the steam engine. The reason for the idea progressing to reality was finding the ideal fuel for the internal combustion engine. In the nineteenth century the availability of coal gas and petroleum removed this barrier to progress in the development of the gas powered internal combustion engine (2). The high energy fuel of petroleum in a mixture with air on ignition produces a rapid and powerful explosion. From 1860 to1880 the means for harnessing the energy of these explosions to power an internal combustion was under active experimentation and the results were soon forthcoming. Most of these experiments were in Germany and not surprisingly the early results sprang from Germany. Two sets of pioneers of the internal combustion engine using petroleum products emerged in the form of Daimler and Maybach on one side and Karl Benz on the other side. While Daimler and Maybach delivered early initial results of an internal combustion engine that could be used on two-wheelers, Karl