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By Ian Nance - posted Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Readily accessible personal transportation has been a need of mankind since the earliest of days, when he started using animals as a method of personal as well as load-bearing transit.

In the realm of warfare, horses as well as elephants were used as a battle accessory.

Naturally, the horse became the dominant means of transport partly because of its reliability, ease of training, and sometimes strong personal bonding. It was either ridden with a saddle, or else used to pull cabs and carts - also used as a source of power for activities such as ploughing.


Then came the advent of the horseless carriage.

The early history of the automobile can be divided into eras, based on the prevailing fuels of propulsion. Later periods were defined by trends in exterior styling, size, and utility preferences.

In 1769 the first steam-powered automobile capable of human transportation was followed in 1808 by an internal combustion engine that was fueled by hydrogen.

Around sixty years later, came the first gasoline powered combustion engine, leading to more sophisticated combustion-engine cars, which over a 10-to-15-year span, influenced later cars.

In 1913, the Ford Model T, created by the Ford Motor Company, became the first automobile to be mass-produced on a moving assembly line. By 1927, Ford had produced over 15,000,000 Model T automobiles.

Although you may not have begun learning to drive on one of these Ford icons, you possibly began driving at a time when calmness and care prevailed on the highway and in circumstances where the idea was to integrate with traffic movement, not to control it.


In the 1940s, it was a mark of that period’s social milieu that one New South Wales driver guidance manual showed drawings of only male drivers, who were depicted wearing hats, gloves, and attentive expressions. I recall that one particular book I used as a reference during my childhood when I was gaining an interest in learning to drive, was titled “Driving and The Nicety of Control”.

In this obviously genteel publication, its advice regarding road rules pointed out that the horn was a warning device, to be used only for alerting other drivers of hazards.

Believe it or not, that ruling still applies today, but you wouldn’t guess it if you were a learner driver trying to cope with the complexities of operating in modern dense traffic conditions. Here the horn is used not just as an alerting signal but also as a method of speech, ranging from a casual reminder “I’ve arrived outside and am waiting”, to the angry enjoinder” yougot a bloody Braille licence?”, or in more amenable conditions a farewelling “bye bye”

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About the Author

Ian Nance's media career began in radio drama production and news. He took up TV direction of news/current affairs, thence freelance television and film producing, directing and writing. He operated a program and commercial production company, later moving into advertising and marketing.

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