The Invention of the Automatic
by Jena Redwanski
And Life Was All Of A Sudden Simple.
First, lets start with the way an automatic transmission is built and how it works.
The Torque Converter takes the place of a clutch in a manual transmission and is the key to the automatic transmission. The converter, which is connected to the motor by the transmission shaft, also multiplies the turning power provided by the engine. Just to add a little to the noise, the engine and transmission do not touch directly. The engine is able to turn the transmission using a process called hydraulic coupling.
The engine crankshaft works as a fan to influence the turn of the transmission shaft. The same process occurs in a torque converter. The only difference is that the transmission fluid takes the place of air. The torque converter has more to it than meets the eye. Inside contains the impeller (pump), the turbine, and the stator (guide wheel). These all help to multiply the power of the converter. Most modern cars with an automatic transmission also contain a torque converter clutch (lockup clutch) which increases the efficiency and gas mileage.
Now lets talk Planetary Gearsets. There are different-sized gears that revolve around a central gear. The gear is called a sun gear, and they are planetary gears because they are circular in shape and are designed on the same model as the solar system. There are three major elements contained in a planetary gearset. The sun gear, planet carrier, drum and pistons, and the ring gear and drum.
When automobiles were first coming about, they were only offered with manual transmissions. A manual transmission, found on such cars as the Ford Model T, were similar to modern stick-shift automobiles.
The Model T had two forward gears and one reverse gear with a series of foot pedals. Vehicles quickly grew larger and more people were out on the roads driving, so engineers began searching for ways to make the car automatically shift itself into the correct gear. They spent decades perfecting the modern automatic transmission.
In 1941 Chrysler introduced the "Fluid Drive" -- a semi-automatic transmission. Although the Fluid Drive still contained a clutch pedal, it allowed you to start the car without using it. It also had an electric overdrive which kicked in automatically, but you still had to use the clutch to switch into different gears.
ARTICLE UPDATE 8-2-2010: First, Oldsmobile came out with a semi-automatic transmission in 1937, and improved it to the Hydra-Matic fully-automatic transmission, which was introduced for the 1940 model year. Chrysler's semi-automatic came out in 1941.
--> Special thanks to Bill S., Philadelphia area, PA for bringing to my attention the error. Visit vistacruiser.com
The technology came along at a encouraging time in United States history. America, widespread with victory from World War II and building up steam for the post-war boom, produced mass amounts of babies and cars. Into those cars they dropped thousands of automatic transmissions.
President Herbert Hoover had promised “a car in every garage and a chicken in every pot.” and the automatic transmission helped him to fulfill that promise. The automatic transmission also increased the workforce, brought more people to the suburbs and welcomed women as they worked their way back into the economy after the war.
The automatic transmission made driving, and life, much easier. All you had to do was press the gas and go!