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
I recently went in to...
Kyle Andree
I recently went in to see dez for a transmission in a 90's silverado. After he rebuilt the transmission he called me toTell me i needed a new shifter cable.i told him I didn't care about the new cable but he threw the cable in for free. Definitely good service and the price was very good too
Date: May 15, 2022
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I went in to set...
Blue
I went in to set up an appointment for them to see what exactly was wrong with my car, because they were busy and couldn’t see to my car they wanted to know what they were dealing with.When they saw my car Bob the chap I was dealing with advised me against driving it any further until repairs were done.I could have had a terrible accident and my car could have been totalled.If I need anything done to my car and they can do it , I’m going to them.
Date: May 14, 2022
Website: Google
I went in to set...
Blue
I went in to set up an appointment for them to see what exactly was wrong with my car, because they were busy and couldn’t see to my car they wanted to know what they were dealing with.When they saw my car Bob the chap I was dealing with advised me against driving it any further until repairs were done.I could have had a terrible accident and my car could have been totalled.If I need anything done to my car and they can do it , I’m going to them.
Date: May 14, 2022
Website: Google
I went in to set...
Blue
I went in to set up an appointment for them to see what exactly was wrong with my car, because they were busy and couldn’t see to my car they wanted to know what they were dealing with.When they saw my car Bob the chap I was dealing with advised me against driving it any further until repairs were done.I could have had a terrible accident and my car could have been totalled.If I need anything done to my car and they can do it , I’m going to them.
Date: May 14, 2022
Website: Google
The staff and franchise owner...
Marty Roberts
The staff and franchise owner are trustworthy and professional. Service is excellent, being in the automotive business I have used Mister Transmission in Peterborough more than once with positive results.
Date: May 13, 2022
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Always A1 service
Pat Pickles
Always A1 service
Date: May 13, 2022
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I've had a great experience...
Peter Prudencio
I've had a great experience with this local auto shop: Giorgio is a fantastic business owner, with an honest and reliable work ethic, favouring and fostering long-term relationships with his customers, and offering very fair prices compared to larger dealerships and other shops. Comes strongly recommended by my neighbours, and I would vouch for his excellent quality of service as another witness to his workmanship.
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Gus is very professional, honest...
Karen Dyer
Gus is very professional, honest and his customer service is amazing. He explained everything to me so I knew exactly what he had done. I would recommend him to anyone
Date: May 12, 2022
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The gentleman at Mister Transmission...
Marcus W.
The gentleman at Mister Transmission was incredibly helpful and professional. He looked at my car and diagnosed that the problem wasn't the transmission itself, but likely the transmission computer.  He then helped me contact the dealer to confirm that the model had been having problems.  Rather than charging me for the repairs, he worked with me to get me the best deal.  He put the customer ahead of the bottom line, and I couldn't be more grateful for his work ethic.
Date: May 12, 2022
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These guys are very helpful,...
M Rashid
These guys are very helpful, I did not have any work done here but he still helped me on phone and answer my questions about transmission in the car I was going to buy.
Date: May 11, 2022
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