How do early transmissions know when to shift? How do they go to the right gears for the right conditions (heavy acceleration, going up a hill etc.)? I cannot imagine how it is done without electrical components, but it seems like they were purely using hydraulics.

  • As an interesting source check out Lanchester... – Solar Mike Sep 20 '19 at 16:43
  • Yes, with hydraulics. Here is a description of how it used to be done. – Weather Vane Sep 20 '19 at 17:17
  • @WeatherVane Thank you! The link is really helpful! – Eric x Sep 20 '19 at 17:37
  • The governor controls shift points. – Moab Sep 21 '19 at 19:02

Hydraulics or vacuum. Engine spins torque converter and pump, fluid flow directed by valve body for shifting.

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  • The first automatic transmission was GM's Hydramatic and I don't think that hydraulics are strictly categorized as 'mechanical' but they are 'non-electric'. – user16128 Feb 18 at 2:20

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