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Packard "Firsts"  
 
 

Nearly all motor cars made today are in some way or other beneficiaries of Packard pioneering in engineering and manufacturing.  Following are but a few of the contributions made by Packard to the motor car world in the past 100+ years.

 
˚ First to develop thermostatic control of water circulation in a motor car.
˚ First to locate the hand-brake lever at driver's left.
˚ First to use the selective gear shift with the "H" movement.
˚ First to use a steering wheel instead of a tiller handle.
˚ First to hook up accelerator pedal and hand throttle, now common to all cars.
˚ First to patent automobile wheels interchangeable at hub.
˚ First to offer a ribbed jacket water cooled cylinder. Packard cars built in 1900 had sheet metal jacket around single cylinder.
˚ First to obtain patent on radiator with top and bottom reservoirs with tubes - the universally used radiator of today.
˚ First to obtain a patent on the luggage rack used at rear of car.
˚ First to use machines for boring both ends of connecting rods with diamonds.
˚ First to rifle bore an oil passage in connecting rods for piston pin lubrication.
˚ First American company to offer a straight-eight-L-head engine.
˚ First American company to offer a V-type, twelve cylinder engine.
˚ First American automobile company to build a 24 cylinder engine.
˚ First company to build a 1000 horse power aircraft engine.
˚ First to build an engine in form of an "X".
˚ First to offer an eight cylinder automobile engine with nine main bearings.
˚ First to develop and fly a diesel aircraft engine.
˚ First American production car to provide four-wheel brakes as standard equipment.
˚ First Automobile company to use spiral bevel gears in rear axle. Included the designing of the complicated machinery for cutting the gear teeth.
˚ First to offer hypoid gears in rear axle. (1926).
˚ First to use the central automatic chassis lubricator system.
˚ First to introduce in America the "Trunnion-block" which in its day added to driving safety by eliminating wheel "shimmy".
˚ First to offer "ride control" in motor cars - a mechanism for controlling shock absorber activity.
˚ First to pioneer the use of and largely responsible for the development of steel backed bearings.
˚ First to make use of the double door latch - now universally used.
˚ First automobile company to use Light Ray Machine (which calibrates down to one-millionth of an inch) for checking precision tools.
˚ First automobile company to use radio amplification for inspecting ball and roller bearings.
˚ First to patent and use a striping instrument which greatly simplified and improved the accuracy of striping bodies.
˚ First to provide a package compartment in instrument board.
˚ First to provide sun visors.
˚ First automobile company to standardize labor and material service charges.
˚ First to use iron and steel jig for body assembly.
˚ First American car to introduce crankshaft vibration damper.
˚ First to use aluminum pisons.
˚ First to employ weights in ends of front bumper for stabilizing movement of heavy weight cars.
˚ First to use metal spring covers.
˚ First to use constant action windshield wipers by employing a vacuum pump.
˚ First to use lateral stabilizer.
˚ First to use built-in under fender cooling tunnels.
˚ First to use both rubber and metal inserts in rear springs.
˚ First to introduce complete weather-conditioning in production cars.
˚ First to use a Fifth Shock Absorber for control of lateral vibrations.
˚ First to use electrically controlled overdrive.
˚ First to use automatic radiator shutters as standard equipment.
˚ First to include front and rear bumpers as standard equipment.
˚ First to equip cars with balloon tires as standard equipment.