Karl Benz and the Benz Patent Motorwagen

Towards the end of the industrial revolution, as the internal combustion engine developed, the opportunity to find an alternative to horse powered carriages arrived. According to G.N Georgano, Karl Benz, a German engineer who worked in his own workshop in Mannheim developed and built engines for a living. In the year 1885, he develops his first prototype.

Named the Benz Patent Motorwagen, his three wheeled car is patented in 1886 and considered by many as the first car ever made. According to the same author, Gottlieb Daimler, a German engineer like Benz, leaves his work to get his own patent and create the first fuel powered motorcycle.

He then proceeds in the 1890's to create Benz's 4 wheeled counterpart, with slightly more advanced technology. Gottlieb's company hires fellow engineer Wilhelm Maybach and will later merge with Benz & Cie to become Daimler-Benz. In the process, the automotive revolution starts in the United States, Germany and France. [1]

According to Overy, the first gas powered internal combustion engine was invented and in use by 1878, however, its not until 1885, for reliability issues, that it was not successfully used on what we know today as the automobile. According to the same author, the Patent Motorwagen was the first self propelled vehicle that used an electric ignition coil and battery. Ignition coils and batteries are used in every internal combustion engine cars produced today, making it a definite milestone for automotive history.[2]

According to Mcgraw, Daimler, along with Maybach developed the first carburettor on an internal combustion engine, along with the first radiator system. Although these technologies were commonly used, Karl Benz (independent at the time) chose not to use it in his patent. Carburettors were continued to be used until the late 1980's and radiators are a must on all gas powered cars today.[3]

As Hartmut Lehbrink states, soon after Karl’s breakthrough, Gottlieb Daimler, owner and founder of the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft, developed a slightly more advanced version of the car with designs very similar to those of Benz. These two, along with Wilhelm Maybach would merge in the beginning of the 20th century to form Daimler-Benz Motors (what we know today as Mercedes-Benz and Maybach).

According to Georgano, the Benz Motorwagen did not have a transmission and . this drove the competitor (Daimler) to install the first automobile transmission on his prototype. These basic designs would inspire generations to further improve and create what we know today as the transmission.

In today’s automotive market, internal combustion engines have 3 common designs. The cylinders are placed in either horizontal, vertical, or V – shaped. According to Georgano, Karl Benz brought to life the first automobile using a horizontally placed cylinder(s). Daimler went on to use the first V shaped engine on an automobile.

Their companies merger would then go on to produce the first vertical engine in an automobile.[4] Jeans William says that the automotive industries boom, primarily driven by Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler drove Ferdinand Porsche to start working on alternatives for automobiles. Porsche, in the early 20th century, developed the first electric car, hybrid car and the roots of Porsche and Volkswagen. According to the same author, this drove the Americans to start developing their automotive industry, focusing on production thus making cars affordable and mass produced.[5]

According to McCraw, Rudolph diesel, an engine builder like Benz and Daimler created the first diesel powered engine (less refined petroleum) ,the Daimler-Benz merger would later create the first Diesel powered passenger car in 1937. Daimler-Benz would also be pioneers in crash testing their cars. Mercedes Benz, according to McCraw, holds the largest crash-test database in the world. [6]

Its almost been 130 years since the automobile has begun production. According to William Jeanes “Cars are like clothing, life will go on without them, but it will not be the same.” [7]A statement that makes a valid point. Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler did not change the world by inventing something, their contribution was the assembly of so many newly developed patents in one machine. The first automobiles created a new market which went on to fuel economies around the world. Some of the items used in the first models are used to this day, and many others have been developed over time to satisfy the markets needs.

Automobiles, trucks and motorcycles have found their way into our lives, changing the way we commute, do business, enjoy hobbies etc. The fruits of Daimler and Benz's labour in particular have shaped the company we know as Mercedes Benz to be pioneers in the industry, pushing many others to thrive forward and find new contributions to automobiles.

Bibliography Crawford, Martin, Auto technology comes a long way (Toronto, Canada, Toronto , 2012) P.1 Georgano, G.N, Les Voitures: de 1886 a 1930 trans. J.-P. Dauliac. (Paris, France: Grund, 1990) P.1-23 Lehbrink, Hartmut and Schlegelmilch, Rainer. Mercedes (Potsdam, H.F. Ullmann, 2010) P. 1-24 McCraw, Jim, CELEBRATING THE ORIGINAL (Popular Mechanics, Feb 2004) Vol. 181 Issue 2, p58-61 Overy, Richard, The wheels--and wings--of progress, (London,History Today, 1992) Vol. 42 Issue 9, p21 William, Jeanes, Celebrating Americas 125-year love affair with automobiles (Canada: Saturday evening post, Jun 2011) P.p30-35 Vol.283

--------------------------------- [ 1 ]. (Georgano, P. 9,13,16) [ 2 ]. (Overy, P.21) [ 3 ]. (McCraw, P.56-57) [ 4 ]. (Lehbrink,P16-20) [ 5 ]. (Willian, P.3 (P.33)) [ 6 ]. (McCraw, P. 58-59) [ 7 ]. (William, P.31-32)