Charles Duryea died in Philadelphia, US at the age of 76

Wednesday 28th September 1938

Charles Duryea died in Philadelphia, US at the age of 76. Duryea and his brother Frank designed and built one of the first functioning “gasoline buggies” in the USA, although cars such as the Nadig were running on the streets of the US before the Duryea’s built their first one. For most of his life, however, Charles insisted on taking full credit for the brothers’ innovation. On the patent applications he filed for the Duryea Motor Wagon, for instance, Charles averred that he was the car’s sole inventor; he also loftily proclaimed that his brother was “simply a mechanic” hired to execute Charles’ plans. Charles Duryea was not the inventor of the first gasoline engine, nor was he the first person to build a gas-powered car. Instead, as his obituary in the NY Times put it, he “had the rare mechanical wit to see how the contributions of his predecessors could be combined into a sound invention.”

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