Inventors are inspirational. Karl Benz was an inventor, engine designer, engineer, and businessman. He and his inventive wife founded the manufacturer Mercedes-Benz. He is known as the inventor of the first automobile powered by the internal combustion engine. He was granted his first engine patent in 1879. In 1886, Benz was granted his first automobile patent.
Karl Benz was born in today’s Karlsruhe, Germany on November 25, 1844. He attended the local Grammar School and then Lyceum. He then attended the Poly-Technical University. When he was just 15 he passed the entrance exam for mechanical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe. In 1864, at just 19, he graduated. He worked at several companies doing various jobs for the next seven years. In 1871, Karl Benz launched the Iron Foundry and Mechanical Workshop with August Ritter. After some business difficulties, Bertha Ringer used her wedding dowry to buy Ritter out. Karl Benz and Bertha Ringer married in 1872. They had five children.
Benz patented a petrol two-stroke engine. His company became the joint-stock company Gasmotoren Fabrik Mannheim in 1882. Benz was unhappy and withdrew in 1883. He joined two bicycle repair shop owners to found Benz & Company Rheinische Gasmotren-Fabrik in 1883. They produced static gas engines among other items. He created an automobile in 1885 called the Benz Patent Motorwagon. He began selling the first commercially available automobile in 1888.
Bertha Benz took a historical trip to visit her mother from Mannheim to Pforzheim on August 5, 1888. On this first long distance automobile trip, Bertha made technical and mechanical repairs and invented needed brake lining. Today, the trip is marked as the Bertha Benz Memorial Route. The company, which became known as, Benz & Cie, grew and the factory was moved. In 1899, 572 units were produced. Benz created a less expensive vehicle that could be mass produced. The Victoria was produced and sold 85 units in 1893. The Benz Velo was in the world’s first automobile race in 1894. Benz made history again when he designed the first truck in 1895. In 1896, Benz was granted a patent for the first flat engine. Benz founded another company with his son Eugen to manufature automobiles. C. Benz Sons was also founded in 1906. In 1912, Karl Benz gave his share of Benz Sons to his sons Eugen and Richard. In 1914, Karl Benz was awarded an honorary doctorate fron Karlsruhe University. In 1924, Benz & Cie signed an agreement with Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft to market their automobiles jointly. In 1926, they emerged as Daimler-Benz.
Karl Benz died at home in 1929. Bertha Benz continued to live in their home until her death in 1944. The home has been designated as a historic home. The Gottlieb Diamler and Karl Benz Foundation meets there and honors Bertha and Karl Benz for their roles in the history of automobiles. Be inspired! Have a bright day!