The early history of the automobile can be divided into a number of eras, based on the prevalent means of propulsion. Later periods were defined by trends in exterior styling, size, and utility preferences. In 1768, the first steam powered automobile capable of human transportation was built by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot. In 1807, François Isaac de Rivaz designed the first car powered by an internal combustion engine fueled by hydrogen. In 1886 the first petrol or gasoline powered automobile the Benz Patent-Motorwagen was invented by Karl Benz. This is also considered to be the first "production" vehicle as Benz made several identical copies. At the turn of the 20th century electrically powered automobiles appeared but only occupied a niche market until the turn of the 21st century. Many vehicles were in vogue for a time, and over the next decades such innovations as hand brakes, multi-speed transmissions, and better steering developed. Some were commercially successful in providing mass transit, until a backlash against these large speedy vehicles resulted in the passage of the Locomotive Act in 1865, which required many self-propelled vehicles on public roads in the United Kingdom to be preceded by a man on foot waving a red flag and blowing a horn. This effectively killed road auto development in the UK for most of the rest of the 19th century; inventors and engineers shifted their efforts to improvements in railway locomotives. The law was not repealed until 1896, although the need for the red flag was removed in 1878
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