Sunday, November 25, 2012
German engine designer and engineer Karl Friedrich Benz was born on November 25, 1844, in southwest Germany. He is considered the inventor of the gasoline-powered automobile and, with his wife, he founded the company that became Mercedes-Benz. He worked as an engine-design engineer in Austria and Germany, then opened his own firm in 1883, making stationary engines for industrial use. In 1885 he built his first “motorwagon,” a three-wheeled, tiller-controlled, steel-frame carriage powered by an internal combustion engine. He patented the vehicle in 1886. His test drives frightened the citizens and horses of Munich. Other Germans (including Daimler and Maybach) worked on similar inventions, entirely separately, but Benz patented his work first. Pictured: Reproduction of the Benz Patent Motorwagen.