Evolution of Brakes

  • Pre Automobile

    Pre automobile brakes, block and lever acting on wheels of vehicle, Spoon Brake. ineffective after Michelin brothers develop rubber pneumatic tyres, and vehicle speeds increase.
  • The first Drum Brake

    First drum brake developed by Wilhelm Maybach and utilised by Gottlieb Daimler in 1899. Cable anchored to vehicles chassis, attached to a roatating drum on the wheels.
  • The Modern Drum Brake

    Modern drum brake invented by Louis Renault. Brake shoe controlled by lever and cable arrangement, acting on inside of rotating drum attached to wheel. Thus protected from dirt and water, and greater effect than Maybach\'s design.
  • Oldsmobile External Acting Drum

    Ransom E Olds tests a further development of Maybach\'s cable drum, consisting of a stainless steel band acting on exterior of drum. When compared in a test against the spoon brake of a 4 horse carriage and internal acting drum of Victoria electric horseless carriage it proves more effective http://www.motorera.com/history/hist07.htm . Olds design becomes More popular than internal acting drum brake until around 1904. However low service life due to exposure to elements, and further development
  • First Disk Brake

    Disk brake first patented by William Lanchester. Unpopular due to screeching noise of copper brake pad against steel disk and increased force needed to apply due to lack of booster when compared to self energising drum brakes. Screeching fixed around 5 years later by Herbert Frood and development of asbestos brake linings.
  • Asbestos Brake Pads/Linings

    Englishman Herbert Frood Patents asbestos lined brake pads and drum linings. Cuts down on noise and outlasts other materials in use at the time.
  • 4 Wheel Braking

    Increasing vehicle speeds lead to the first 4 wheel braking systems. Pioneered by Dusenberg during the Elgin road race in 1915, the brakes are cable operated via a combination of pedal and hand lever.
  • Hydraulic Brakes

    Hydraulick brakes are pioneered by Malcom Locheed. Using a system of cylinders and tubes t transmit hydraulic pressure, he creates a system that is simpler and safer than existing cable and lever designs.
  • Improved 4 Wheel Braking

    In 1919 the French Hispano-Suiza H6B utilized a single foot pedal to operate the coupled four-wheel brakes.
  • Hydraulic Brake Production Car

    The Model A Dusenberg becomes the first production car to use 4 wheel hydraulic braking. This was quickly followed by other manufacturers until only Ford remained, not switching until 1939.
  • Vacuum Brake Booster

    While power brakes date back to the early 1900's, when a car called the tincher used a form of airbrakes, they are not utilised on a production car until the 1928 Pierce-Arrow. It utilised vacuum from the intake maniflod in a similar fashion to that used now. By the 40's other systems are being developed one of which, the Hydroboost, utilises the hydraulic pressure from the power steering pump.
  • Self Adjusting Brakes

    While self adjusting Brakes were first utilised on the 1925 Cole, the system used today was not developed until 1946 when Studebaker fitted a system that used a pin and lever arrangement under tension from a spring, acting against a wedge which adjuted the brake linings as they wore down.
  • Return of Disk Brakes

    While disk brakes have been around since before the 1900's it was not until this time that they were fitted to a production car. Chrysler offered a form of disk brakes as an option on select models, though their design utilised a pair of disks that spread apart and rubbed on the nside of a drum, This was done to lessen the ammount of force needed to actuate the brakes, while improving the pad contact area as compared to drum brakes.
  • ABS Brakes

    ABS systems are hardly new technology. The first such system was developed in 1929 by frenchman Gabriel Voisin for use on aircraft. Following this, Bosch-Mercedes developed an electronic ABS system in the late 1936. However, it wasn't until 1958 that a viable automotive abs sysem was developed and fitted to the Jensen FF. The ABS fitted utilised the british developed Maxaret system, designed for aircraft.
  • Dual Master Cylinder

    Since the advent of hydraulic breaking systems, single piston master cylinders had been in use, these had the disadvantage that when a fault developed in the system, it affected all brakes. The first attmpt to remedy this was made by wagner electric, who fitted 2 master cylinders coupled to the same pedal. In 1962 Cadillac introduced a system with a twin piston master cylinder, similar to those used today. In 1967 the US government specified the use of dual master cylinders.
  • Bendix Disk Brakes

    The first modern disk brake system introduced on a production vehicle, the Studebaker Avanti was fitted with 4 wheel disk brakes by Bendix. The reason this system was so successful was that it utilised a vacuum booster to decrease the force needed from the driver to apply the brakes.
  • Electronic ABS

    The next step in ABS came in 1978, when Mercedes offered a completely electronic system based on their earlier system from the 30's. Manufacturer variations asside, this is essentially the system still in use today.
  • Electric Brake Booster

    GM utilises and electric brake booster. Compressed air is generated by a small compressor pump, and stored in an accumulator. This stores compressed air which pushes against a diaphram atached to the master piston in the same fashion as a regular brake booster. The resovoir also holds enough pressure to apply the brakes in the event of compressr failure.
  • Decline of Asbestos Brake Pads

    Up until this point the majority of brake pads and linings were still made from asbstos. However, while the exact date is difficult to narrow down, it is around this time that US Federal studies lead to awareness of the toxicity of asbestos and its decline in the use of brake pads. Since then, modern brake pads have been made from non asbestos organic compounds, semi-metallic compounds, ceramics or sintered metal powders.
  • Mercedes Brake Distronic System

    Mercedes Brake Distronic system use a long and short distance radar to automatically brake the car if it detecs and impending collision.