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Karl Benz

posted Jan 22, 2015, 7:38 PM by   [ updated Jul 18, 2019, 4:11 PM by Upali Salpadoru ]

Karl Benz 1844- 1929.

Fig.2. Replica of the first practical automobile.

 Fig. 1 One of their latest models.                        He got a patent for this in 1846.

    What is the best car in the world?  Ninety out of a hundred will say, “Mercedes Benz” Who made the Benz and what or who is Mercedes?


    F.Josephine Vaillant gave birth to Karl Vaillant in Karlsruhe, Germany on 25th of November.

 His father who was an engine driver died two years later in a rail accident; the boy's name was changed to Karl Benz later. He was a bright child with deft fingers, who often helped his science teacher in setting up apparatus for class experiments. His friends and neighbours got him to mend their clocks and watches. . His childhood ambition was to become a locksmith. In his house he had a dark room where he developed and printed photos for the tourists that visited the ‘Black Forest’. The little income he derived by these pursuits helped his mother to run the family.

  After a course of study at the Polytechnic he worked as an intern in a mechanical engineering company. In 1871 he started his own workshop named Factory for Machines for Sheet-metal Working, with a partner called Ritter.  Here he developed his new hobby of making engines.  Within a year the company reached bankruptcy mainly due to the negligence of his partner. At this hour of need, young and slim Bertha Ringer bought Ritter’s share and revived the company. He married her and within a few years’ time he obtained a patent for a two stroke internal combustion gas engine and got himself into the group of inventors.

  What is considered as the first automobile today is a three wheeled vehicle.For the first time in the history of vehicle development this one had spark plug ignition, an accelerator, a carbon aerator, a clutch and a gear system with a water cooled radiator. Such a number of firsts may never have been included in any of the inventions made in the entire history of mankind.

  Fig.2 Karl Benz at the age of 25.

  Although Benz sold the highest number of cars in 1900 there was a rival Gottlieb Daimler who also made fantastic vehicles. In 1926 the two companies merged and came to be known as Daimler-Benz AG. Daimler Chrysler was another arm of this parent company.

 Benz used one wheel in front in his auto to overcome the steering problem. At the time they did not know how to turn two wheels with one axle. This he overcame in 1893 by introducing an axle pivot steering system in his Benz Victoria model designed for two. In 1896 he introduced the flat engine with pistons placed horizontally, working opposite a device which is even used today in some racing cars.

Fig.3 The house they lived in.

  On the 5th of August in 1888 Berta Benz did the first long distance auto trip with two of her children, 106 km without the consent of her husband. On the way she had difficulty in purchasing fuel from pharmacies and the car had to be pushed to climb steep hills. In a telegram she sent to her husband, at the end of the journey she suggested the addition of another gear to climb hills. Today this event is celebrated annually in Germany with an antique automobile rally.

 Emil Jellinek, the Austrian diplomat, was the main distributor for Daimler cars in France. He was on the board of Daimler Benz co. and frequently made caustic comments on the design of cars. Once he wrote, “Your cars are cocoons. I want a butterfly” He got the company to custom build a car and baptizes it in the name of his daughter, Miss Mercedes. The name which means ‘mercy’ preceded their brand name and it remains up to the present day.

Fig.4  Miss Mercedes Jellinek.