Hemmings Motor News Blog Blog

Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

Previous in Blog: RIP Eliot Handler, Hot Wheels Creator   Next in Blog: Unusual Engines - 1963 Ford 406
Close
Close
Close
2 comments

Who Invented Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)?

Posted August 02, 2011 8:00 AM by dstrohl

Perusing the Wisconsin Historical Society's image archive recently, we came across the above photo of a rather significant event: Inventor Otto Zachow sits on the back of the shaft-drive steam-powered Z&B, his first four-wheel-drive vehicle, in Clintonville, Wisconsin.

Indeed, Zachow and his brother-in-law, William Besserdich, would within a couple of years found the Four Wheel Drive Automobile Company there in Clintonville (known in an early iteration as the Badger Four Wheel Drive Automobile Company) and become the world's largest producer of four-wheel-drive vehicles. Yet the Z&B was not the first four-wheel-drive vehicle, as stated in the photo's caption.

Let's start with the date. Wisconsin Historical Society places it circa 1909, though most sources claim the Z&B was built in 1908. From Zachow and Besserdich's patents (U.S. patents 907,940 and 882,986, both issued in 1908) that much of their work in developing the four-wheel-drive design seems to have taken place in the summer of 1907.

Then there was Charles E. Cotta, of Shannon, Illinois, who filed his patent for a chain-drive four-wheel-drive vehicle (U.S. Patent 652,949) in January 1900 (followed by U.S. Patent 700,175 in October of that year, both of them also four-wheel-steering designs).

Read the Whole Article

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Been there, done that. Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Long Island NY
Posts: 15253
Good Answers: 940
#1

Re: Who Invented Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)?

08/02/2011 11:38 PM

The 4-4-2 locomotive was a four wheel locomotive was a four wheel drive vehicle first used in 1888. Six years before this Z&B prototyped their four wheel drive vehicle a 2-10-2 locomotive was in use with a total of ten drive wheels. So who invented four wheel drive?

__________________
"Don't disturb my circles." translation of Archimedes last words
Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru
United States - Member - New Member

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: In the pool because it is too hot.
Posts: 3053
Good Answers: 140
#2

Re: Who Invented Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)?

08/03/2011 2:45 AM

As far as I recall in Europe there was Porsche even with a 4 wheel individual drive, and the Netherlands' Spijker, years before. It is even in Wiki. I think in Britain there are 1850 trains too.

__________________
Plenty of room here
Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 2 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!

Previous in Blog: RIP Eliot Handler, Hot Wheels Creator   Next in Blog: Unusual Engines - 1963 Ford 406

Advertisement