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1895 - Duryea Motor Wagon Company is the first American firm established to build gasoline automobiles. Building an automobile that people might actually buy was the goal. Charle and Frank Duryea were among the very first Americans to try. Their car's user-friendly control system allowed the driver to steer, shift gears and accelerate using one lever. Unfortunately, there weren't enough buyers. The Duryea Motor Wagon Company made only 13 cars in 1896 and was out of business by 1898.