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September 28, 1938 – Charles Duryea dies

Charles Duryea

On this day in 1938 US automobile inventor Charles Duryea passed away. Duryea, an engineer, and his brother Frank are recognized by many historians as the first people to manufacture a working automobile in the United States. Duryea grew up in Illinois before making his way to Washingon D.C. where he and Frank built bicycles. After relocating to Springfield, Massachusetts the pair began working on their motorized Duryea Wagon.

Charles designed and engineered the machine while Frank handled much of the hands on construction. On September 22, 1893 they completed their first road test of the vehicle. After refining their design and producing 13 of the same cars in 1896, the Duryea Motor Wagon Company became the first automobile manufacturer in the country. Their venture never saw much success, but they did produce vehicles through at least 1917.  Charles died of a heart attack in Philadelphia on this day in 1938.  

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