Transmission Types and History of Development

By Mister Transmission

From starting with manual transmissions, to the introduction of automatic transmissions in 1939 – learn about the evolution of the modern transmission.

The transmission in automobiles is a system of parts usually contained within a housing, connecting the engine to the wheels. Suitable torque, or turning force, is generated by the engine only within a narrow range of engine speeds, i.e., rates at which the crankshaft is turning. However, the wheels must turn with suitable torque over a wide range of speeds. While its speed is held roughly constant, the engine turns an input shaft on the transmission whose output shaft can be adjusted to turn the wheels at an appropriate speed.

Manual Transmission

The manual transmission is the simplest (and earliest) of transmissions, and consist of a system of interlocking gearwheels. These wheels are arranged so that by operating a lever the driver can choose one of several ratios of speed between the input shaft and the output shaft. These ratios are called gears, first gear being the arrangement that gives the lowest output speed, second gear the next lowest, and so forth. To allow smooth shifting from one gear to another, a clutch is provided to disengage the engine from the transmission. The commonly used dry single disk clutch has a steel disk with a friction lining that is sandwiched between a flywheel on the engine shaft and a pressure plate on the transmission input shaft. When the driver takes his foot off the clutch pedal, springs squeeze the friction disk into the space between the flywheel and the pressure plate, enabling the engine shaft to turn the transmission.

For many cars and for normal driving conditions a transmission with three forward gears and one reverse gear is sufficient. In cars having small engines transmissions with four or five forward speeds are used; racing cars often have as many as six forward speeds.

Synchromesh Transmission

A synchromesh transmission is a manual transmission in which all forward gear wheels are held in mesh at all times. Used on most American cars with a manual transmission, it allows the driver to shift gears more smoothly and makes the car run more quietly.

Automatic Transmission

The automatic transmission, introduced in 1939, switches to the optimum gear without driver intervention except for starting and going into reverse. The type of automatic transmission used on current American cars usually consists of a fluid device called a torque converter and a set of planetary gears. The torque converter transmits the engine’s power to the transmission using hydraulic fluid to make the connection. For more efficient operation at high speeds, a clutch plate is applied to create a direct mechanical connection between the transmission and the engine.

The introduction of microprocessor-controlled electronic sensors has enhanced the performance of automatic transmissions still more. Data about engine speed, exhaust pressure, and other performance characteristics are sent to a processor that controls the changing of gears and the clutch plate in the torque converter via electrical switches, or solenoids. New approaches to transmission design combine the best features of manual and automatic transmissions to provide more efficient ways of channeling engine power to the wheels.

Manumatic Transmission

A manumatic transmission is an automatic transmission with an added manual-shift mode; typically, a floor-mounted shifter offers an alternative selector path supplemented by buttons mounted on the steering wheel.

Continuously Variable Transmission

A continuously variable transmission (CVT) uses a belt that connects two variable-diameter pulleys to provide an unlimited number of ratio changes and uninterrupted power to the wheels; CVT transmissions offer better fuel efficiency than conventional automatic transmissions, which change the transmission ratio by shifting gears.

Sequential Manual Gearbox

A sequential manual gearbox (SMG), developed for Formula One cars, uses computer-controlled actuators to operate the clutch and change gears when prompted by the driver; both manual and automatic modes are possible, and there is no clutch pedal.

Dual Clutch Transmission

The dual clutch transmission (DCT), also called the direct shift gearbox (DSG), substitutes dual clutches for the conventional single-sided clutch to transfer power from the engine through two parallel paths; the gearbox features two sets of gears, identical to those in conventional manual transmissions—one set being the odd gears (1st, 3rd, 5th) and the other the even gears (2nd, 4th, 6th)—the gears must be shifted in sequence, and power to the wheels is never interrupted.

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Customer Reviews
Frank Matchett - You fit our vehich
Karen D
Frank Matchett - You fit our vehichle (Toyota Celica) into the Coquitlam Shop so quickly on Monday, June 29th. I am from Kamloops. This was during Canada Day week too. You found a transmission on Vancouver Island and even offered to pick it up yourself if possible. You personally dropped me off and picked me up at the location I was staying at on Port Moody. I so appreciated that kindness. You went above and beyond and kept me, reassured that I would be home on Thursday. My husband was not with me yet you communicated the updates with both him & myself (he was in Kamloops.) You were wonderful with your communication, swiftness in finding the part, I\'m grateful that you fit my car in during this holiday week & your kindness to drop me off & pick me up was so appreciated. So thankful for all that you did Frank Matchett. Sincerely - Mrs. K Devlin
Date: July 3, 2020
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Frank and the crew in Coquitlam did
Harold P
Frank and the crew in Coquitlam did a great job and very quickly repaired my Jeep.
Date: July 2, 2020
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Andrew Ouellette was amazing. Serv
Steve R
Andrew Ouellette was amazing. Service was booked the next day. dropped the car off at 1pm. Received a call on the work required by 2pm and picked up the car by 4pm. A great service experience!
Date: July 1, 2020
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Great customer service
Darin K
Great customer service
Date: July 1, 2020
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Great service
Greg K
Great service
Date: June 30, 2020
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Ken is great - knowledgeable skille
Kyle T
Ken is great - knowledgeable skilled friendly and honest and fair. What more could you want?
Date: June 30, 2020
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Chris & Kurt were Awesome they both
MARC M
Chris & Kurt were Awesome they both went above and beyond ! From Kurt using the Diagnostic tool before they opened as I needed to get to work by 8:50 AM to Chris looking into my options & working on my Transmission They are both incredible ! you have a set of Ambassadors for Mister Transmission that live a vision of caring for the well being of their clients. I will defiantly refer people to them as they are without a doubt the best of the best ! Thank you again Kurt and Chris ! You guys deserve an Award ! Regards Marc
Date: June 29, 2020
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Pleased with professional and frien
Kim G
Pleased with professional and friendly service and same day repair
Date: June 27, 2020
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As always the service was great, th
Tyson T
As always the service was great, the right work that needed to be done was done.
Date: June 27, 2020
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So far, repair seems fine
Betty H
So far, repair seems fine
Date: June 26, 2020
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