Featured Photo: Hand-Cranked Car
Today, we take the starting of automobiles for granted. Simply place the key in the ignition, turn, and VROOM, the engine starts.
However, this was not always the case. Cars in the early parts of the century had to be started by hand. This was accomplished by turning a crank, usually located in the front of the automobile. When the crank was turned, it moved the pistons in the automobile’s engine until enough momentum was built up to keep the engine going on its own. Hand cranking was also physically demanding making it very difficult for anyone with a small stature to start the engine.
By 1920, nearly all manufacturers were producing cars equipped with starters making it easy for anyone, regardless of physical abilities, to start a car by pressing a button mounted on the dash or floor. An ignition on and starter engage switch operated by a key was introduced by Chrysler in 1949.