Benz Patent Motorwagen
Overview
 
The Benz Patent-Motorwagen (or motorcar), built in 1886, is widely regarded as the first automobile, that is, a vehicle designed to be propelled by a motor. It is important to note, however, that the first automobile fatality
Mary Ward (scientist)
Mary Ward was an Irish amateur scientist who was killed when she fell under the wheels of an experimental steam car built by her cousins. As the event occurred in 1869, she is the world's first known motor vehicle accident victim...

 on record occurred in 1869, during the preceding era of steam-powered cars.

The vehicle was awarded the German patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

, number 37435, for which Karl Benz
Karl Benz
Karl Friedrich Benz, was a German engine designer and car engineer, generally regarded as the inventor of the gasoline-powered car, and together with Bertha Benz pioneering founder of the automobile manufacturer Mercedes-Benz...

 applied on January 29, 1886.
Encyclopedia
The Benz Patent-Motorwagen (or motorcar), built in 1886, is widely regarded as the first automobile, that is, a vehicle designed to be propelled by a motor. It is important to note, however, that the first automobile fatality
Mary Ward (scientist)
Mary Ward was an Irish amateur scientist who was killed when she fell under the wheels of an experimental steam car built by her cousins. As the event occurred in 1869, she is the world's first known motor vehicle accident victim...

 on record occurred in 1869, during the preceding era of steam-powered cars.

The vehicle was awarded the German patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

, number 37435, for which Karl Benz
Karl Benz
Karl Friedrich Benz, was a German engine designer and car engineer, generally regarded as the inventor of the gasoline-powered car, and together with Bertha Benz pioneering founder of the automobile manufacturer Mercedes-Benz...

 applied on January 29, 1886. Following official procedures, the date of the application became the patent date for the invention once the patent was granted, which occurred in November of that year.

Although Benz's wife, Bertha
Bertha Benz
Bertha Benz was born on 3 May 1849 in Pforzheim, Germany. She married inventor Karl Benz on 20 July 1872, and died 5 May 1944 in Ladenburg...

 financed the developing process, and would hold patent-rights under modern law, as a married woman she wasn't allowed to apply for the patent.

Benz officially unveiled his invention to the public on July 3, 1886 on the Ringstrasse (Ringstraße) in Mannheim
Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

.

Specifications

After developing a successful gasoline-powered two-stroke piston engine in 1873, Benz focused on developing a motorized vehicle while maintaining a career as a designer and manufacturer of stationary engines and their associated parts.

The Benz Patent-Motorwagen was a three-wheeled automobile with a rear-mounted engine. The vehicle contained many new inventions. It was constructed of steel tubing with woodwork panels. The steel-spoked wheels and solid rubber tires were Benz's own design. Steering was by way of a toothed rack
Rack and pinion
A rack and pinion is a type of linear actuator that comprises a pair of gears which convert rotational motion into linear motion. A circular gear called "the pinion" engages teeth on a linear "gear" bar called "the rack"; rotational motion applied to the pinion causes the rack to move, thereby...

 that pivoted the unsprung front wheel. Fully elliptic springs
Spring (device)
A spring is an elastic object used to store mechanical energy. Springs are usually made out of spring steel. Small springs can be wound from pre-hardened stock, while larger ones are made from annealed steel and hardened after fabrication...

 were used at the back along with a live axle
Live axle
A live axle, sometimes called a solid axle, is a type of beam axle suspension system that uses the driveshafts that transmit power to the wheels to connect the wheels laterally so that they move together as a unit....

 and chain drive
Chain drive
Chain drive is a way of transmitting mechanical power from one place to another. It is often used to convey power to the wheels of a vehicle, particularly bicycles and motorcycles...

 on both sides. A simple belt system served as a single-speed transmission
Transmission (mechanics)
A machine consists of a power source and a power transmission system, which provides controlled application of the power. Merriam-Webster defines transmission as: an assembly of parts including the speed-changing gears and the propeller shaft by which the power is transmitted from an engine to a...

, varying torque between an open disc and drive disc.

The first Motorwagen used the Benz 954 cc single-cylinder four-stroke engine. This new engine produced ⅔ hp (½ kW) at 250 rpm in the Patent-Motorwagen, although later tests by the University of Mannheim
University of Mannheim
The University of Mannheim is one of the younger German universities. It offers Bachelor, Master, and PhD degrees.The University is mainly located in Mannheim’s palace the largest baroque palace in Germany. The whole city center of Mannheim is aligned symmetrically to the palace.About 800 scholars...

 showed it to be capable of .9 hp (0.7 kW) at 400 rpm. It was an extremely light engine for the time, weighing about 100 kg (220 lb). Although its open crankcase and drip oiling system would be alien to a modern mechanic, its use of a pushrod-operated poppet valve
Poppet valve
A poppet valve is a valve consisting of a hole, usually round or oval, and a tapered plug, usually a disk shape on the end of a shaft also called a valve stem. The shaft guides the plug portion by sliding through a valve guide...

 for exhaust would be quite familiar. A large horizontal flywheel
Flywheel
A flywheel is a rotating mechanical device that is used to store rotational energy. Flywheels have a significant moment of inertia, and thus resist changes in rotational speed. The amount of energy stored in a flywheel is proportional to the square of its rotational speed...

 stabilized the single-cylinder engine's power output. An evaporative carburettor was controlled by a sleeve valve
Sleeve valve
The sleeve valve is a type of valve mechanism for piston engines, distinct from the usual poppet valve. Sleeve-valve engines saw use in a number of pre-World War II luxury cars and in USA in the Willys-Knight car and light truck...

 to regulate power and engine speed. The first model of the Motorwagen had not been built with a carburetor, rather a basin of fuel soaked fibers that supplied fuel to the cylinder by evaporation.

Benz later built more models of the Motorwagen, model number 2 boasting 1.5 hp (1.1 kW), and model number 3 with 2 hp (1.5 kW), allowing the vehicle to reach a maximum speed of approximately 10 mi/h. The chassis was improved in 1887 with the introduction of wooden-spoke wheels, a fuel tank, and a manual leather shoe brake
Drum brake
A drum brake is a brake in which the friction is caused by a set of shoes or pads that press against a rotating drum-shaped part called a brake drum....

 on the rear wheels.

Historic drive of Bertha Benz

Bertha Benz
Bertha Benz
Bertha Benz was born on 3 May 1849 in Pforzheim, Germany. She married inventor Karl Benz on 20 July 1872, and died 5 May 1944 in Ladenburg...

, married to Karl, chose to publicize
Publicity
Publicity is the deliberate attempt to manage the public's perception of a subject. The subjects of publicity include people , goods and services, organizations of all kinds, and works of art or entertainment.From a marketing perspective, publicity is one component of promotion which is one...

 the Patent-Motorwagen in a unique manner—she took the Patent-Motorwagen No. 3, supposedly without her husband's knowledge, and drove it on the first long-distance automobile road trip
Road trip
A road trip is any journey taken on roads, regardless of stops en route. Typically, road trips are long distances traveled by automobile.-Pre-automobile road trips:...

 to demonstrate its feasibility as a means to travel long distances.

That trip occurred in early August 1888, as the entrepreneurial lady took her sons Eugen and Richard, fifteen and fourteen years old, on a ride from Mannheim through Heidelberg
Heidelberg
-Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...

, and Wiesloch
Wiesloch
Wiesloch is a city in Germany, in northern Baden-Württemberg. It is situated 13 kilometres south of Heidelberg.After Weinheim, Sinsheim and Leimen it is the fourth largest city of the Rhein-Neckar-Kreis and is in the north-central area near Heidelberg with its neighbouring town Walldorf...

 (where she took on ligroin as a fuel at the city pharmacy, making it the first filling station
Filling station
A filling station, also known as a fueling station, garage, gasbar , gas station , petrol bunk , petrol pump , petrol garage, petrol kiosk , petrol station "'servo"' in Australia or service station, is a facility which sells fuel and lubricants...

 in history), to her maternal hometown of Pforzheim
Pforzheim
Pforzheim is a town of nearly 119,000 inhabitants in the state of Baden-Württemberg, southwest Germany at the gate to the Black Forest. It is world-famous for its jewelry and watch-making industry. Until 1565 it was the home to the Margraves of Baden. Because of that it gained the nickname...

.

As well as being the driver, Benz acted as mechanic
Mechanic
A mechanic is a craftsman or technician who uses tools to build or repair machinery.Many mechanics are specialized in a particular field such as auto mechanics, bicycle mechanics, motorcycle mechanics, boiler mechanics, general mechanics, industrial maintenance mechanics , air conditioning and...

 on the drive, cleaning the carburetor with her hat pin and using a garter
Garter (stockings)
Garters are articles of clothing: narrow bands of fabric fastened about the leg, used to keep up stockings, and sometimes socks. Normally just a few inches in width, they are usually made of leather or heavy cloth, and adorned with small bells and/or ribbons...

 to insulate a wire. She refueled at the local pharmacy in Wiesloch and as the brakes wore down, Benz asked a local shoemaker to nail leather on the brake blocks, in doing so, inventing brake lining
Brake lining
Brake linings are the consumable surfaces in brake systems, such as drum brakes and disc brakes used in transport vehicles.-History:Brake linings were invented by Bertha Benz during her historic first long distance car trip in the world in August 1888.-Structure and function:Brake linings are...

 on the way. These deeds show that Bertha Benz must have had technical know-how and an inventive spirit as well.

After sending a telegraph message to her husband of the arrival in Pforzheim, she spent the night at her mother's house and returned home three days later. The trip covered 194 km (120.5 mi) in total.

In Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, a parade of antique automobiles celebrates this historic trip of Bertha Benz every two years. In 2008, the Bertha Benz Memorial Route
Bertha Benz Memorial Route
The Bertha Benz Memorial Route is a German tourist and theme route in Baden-Württemberg and member of the European Route of Industrial Heritage...

 was officially approved as a route of industrial heritage of mankind, because it follows Bertha Benz's tracks of the world's first long-distance journey by automobile in 1888. Now everybody can follow the 194 km (120.5 mi) of signposted route from Mannheim
Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

 via Heidelberg
Heidelberg
-Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...

 to Pforzheim
Pforzheim
Pforzheim is a town of nearly 119,000 inhabitants in the state of Baden-Württemberg, southwest Germany at the gate to the Black Forest. It is world-famous for its jewelry and watch-making industry. Until 1565 it was the home to the Margraves of Baden. Because of that it gained the nickname...

 (Black Forest
Black Forest
The Black Forest is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 metres ....

) and back.

External links

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