The automobile may have had its origins in Europe, but few sectors of the U.S. economy embody the American notions of personal liberty, expression, and freedom as fully as the automotive industry.
The rise of the industry at the beginning of the 20th century coincided with the ascent of manned flight and the motion picture industry, and a sense that the United States was entering a new and progressive era where anything was possible.
Hundreds of automotive companies sprouted all over the nation at the turn of the century, firing the ambitions of people in all walks of life.
Not all of these ambitions were realized. Many companies foundered because of mismanagement, overexpansion, misjudgment of the public taste, and underestimating supply chain costs. Some companies in the early part of the 20th century whose products were electric vehicles or steam-powered cars could not compete against gas-powered autos that had more