History Of Car Brakes

​Today, we take anti-lock braking for granted. When cars were first created, the braking systems were much less effective and much more dangerous. If you have a classic car, you need to understand the different brakes available and brake parts for classic cars. Here is a look at the different brake options used throughout the years. 

First Brakes

​Braking the first cars was very difficult. They were borrowed from braking systems used for horses.Essentially, the driver had to use a lever to cause a wooden block to stop the wheels. This worked on cars that were going 10 - 20 mph. As cars got faster and traffic increased, this did not work any longer. When tires became rubber, the wood disintegrated the tires. 

​Drum Brakes 

Drum brakes work by pushing down on the brake drum. The fist mechanical drum brakes in 1901 worked by wrapping cables around the rear wheels on the rear tires. Drum brakes greatly improved with the development of hydraulic brakes. Soon, they were some of the first brakes that allowed the driver to reduce speed from inside the car, and the brakes could last over 1000 miles! Cars primarily came with drum brakes until the 1940s and 1950s. Unfortunately, drum brakes generate a large amount of heat which can lead to morphing and malfunction. 

​Disc Brakes

The first ​effective disc brakes appeared on the market in 1949 by Crosley Motors on their Hotshot car, but it was discontinued. Chrysler perfected the technology and applied the disc brake to their fourth generation Imperial and their Town and Country. While drum brakes pressed against the inner surface of the drum, disc brakes pressed against the outer surface of the iron disc. Disc brakes last longer than drum brakes. They were an improvement to drum brakes because they didn't need the driver to apply as much pressure. Disc brakes were expensive, though, and most people still used drum brakes. ​Disc brakes became more popular when Bendix created four-wheel disc brakes in 1962. 

​Anti-lock Brakes

​Modern braking systems appeared in early automobiles, but they were made popular by Chrysler in 1971. The system prevents a wheel from locking up and causing the car to spin by using hydraulics to reduce the braking on that wheel. While initially very expensive and glitch, improvements make them popular to this day. 

Future of Brakes

​Braking systems continue to improve, and these improvements can still be utilized instead of antique car brake parts. Ask about green braking options and smart braking options. 

Contact a supplier, like Brake & Equipment Warehouse , for more help.