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Manual Transmissions Old and New

In 1832, W. H. James introduced his invention of a three-speed standard transmission. Panhard and Levassor ( a company name) are credited with the invention of the modern transmission – installed in their 1895 Panhard. On April 28, 1908, Leonard Dyer was awarded one of the earliest patents for an automotive transmission.

The experimental vehicles were eventually to become the modern standard, but each was a unique design. They used a clutch pedals to operate a clutch and chain-drive gearbox. The vehicle also featured a front-mounted radiator.

The company’s Panhard System consisted of four wheels, a front-mounted engine with rear wheel drive, and a manual transmission. This was to become the standard power distribution design for automobiles for the next century.

Panhard-Levassor1895.

Panhard-Levassor1895.

Science Museum/Science and Society Picture Library

Although this is really an article on the first produced transmission and not really a history, it is not a transmission you are likely to come across. It shows how long ago auto designers have toiled with a way to transmit engine power to the drive wheels. A case where the basic theory of design has not changed in over 100 years. Certainly, modern technology has refined the manual transmission into a precision, smoother shifting modern day transmission with 7 forward speeds or more. But the basic paradigm has not been changed.

In reality the concept of a front engine with a transmission bolted to it, and a driveshaft that transmits the power to the front drive wheels, rear wheels in this case, has stood the test of time, as the system is still widely used today.

Not to say that something this old and special can’t be rebuilt. Though it would probably go to a specialist in antique transmissions. In the world most of us live in, meaning the current modern cars we drive, most of the transmissions for sale are much more modern and easier to replace. Having said that, rely on a company that has kept current on the best replacement transmissions for sale. Should you be in the market, call GotTransmissions.com @ 866-320-1182.

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