Tribute to Karl Benz

Generally regarded as the inventor of the gasoline-powered automobile, the German engineer & Automotive pioneer Karl Benz was born on November 25, 1844 in Mühlburg (Karlsruhe).Benz attended the local Grammar School in Karlsruhe and was a prodigious student. In 1853, at the age of nine he started at the scientifically oriented Lyceum. Next he studied at the Poly-Technical University under the instruction of Ferdinand Redtenbacher.Benz had originally focused his studies on locksmithing, but eventually followed his father’s steps toward locomotive engineering. On September 30, 1860, at age fifteen, he passed the entrance exam for mechanical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe, from which he subsequently Graduated.

During these years, while riding his bicycle, he started to envision concepts for a vehicle that would eventually become the horseless carriage.After his formal education, Benz had seven years of professional training in several companies, but did not fit well in any of them. The training started in Karlsruhe with two years of varied jobs in a mechanical engineering company. He then moved to Mannheim to work as a draftsman and designer in a scales factory. In 1868 he went to Pforzheim to work for a bridge building company Gebrüder Benckiser Eisenwerke und Maschinenfabrik. Finally, he went to Vienna for a short period to work at an iron construction company.At the age of twenty-seven, Karl Benz joined August Ritter in launching the Iron Foundry and Mechanical Workshop in Mannheim, later renamed Factory for Machines for Sheet-metal Working. Karl Benz led in the development of new engines in the early factory he and his wife owned. To get more revenues, in 1878 he began to work on new patents. First, he concentrated all his efforts on creating a reliable petrol two-stroke engine. Other German contemporaries, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach working as partners, had been working on similar types of inventions, independently, but Benz patented his work first, and, subsequently patented all the processes that made the internal combustion engine feasible for use in an automobile. In 1879 his first engine patent was granted to him.Karl Benz showed his real genius, however, through his successive inventions registered while designing what would become the production standard for his two-stroke engine. Benz soon patented the speed regulation system, the ignition using white power sparks with battery, the spark plug, the carburetor, the clutch, the gear shift, and the water radiator. in 1882 The company became Gasmotoren Fabrik Mannheim, but he was unhappy with the situation so he left in 1883.

Benz’s lifelong hobby brought him to a bicycle repair shop in Mannheim owned by Max Rose and Friedrich Wilhelm Eßlinger. In 1883, the three founded a new company producing industrial machines: Benz & Company Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik, usually referred to as, Benz & Cie which began producing static gas engines as well.The success of the company gave Benz the opportunity to indulge in his old passion of designing a horseless carriage. Based on his experience with, and fondness for, bicycles, he used similar technology when he created an automobile. It featured wire wheels with a four-stroke engine of his own design between the rear wheels, with a very advanced coil ignition and evaporative cooling rather than a radiator. Power was transmitted by means of two roller chains to the rear axle. Karl Benz finished his creation in 1885 and named it the Benz Patent Motorwagen and in 1886 Benz was granted a patent for his first automobile. It was the first automobile entirely designed as such to generate its own power, not simply a motorized-stage coach or horse carriage, which is why Karl Benz was granted his patent and is regarded as its inventor. The first successful tests on public roads were carried out in the early summer of 1886. The next year Benz created the Motorwagen Model 2, which had several modifications, and in 1887, the definitive Model 3 with wooden wheels was introduced, showing at the Paris Expo the same year. Benz began to sell the vehicle (advertising it as the Benz Patent Motorwagen) in the late summer of 1888, making it the first commercially available automobile in history.

The early 1888 version of the Motorwagen had no gears and could not climb hills unaided so another Gear was added. Then to generate publicity and demonstrate the feasibility of using the Benz Motorwagen for travel, Benz’s wife Bertha took her first long distance automobile trip from Mannheim to Pforzheim , using one of the vehicles. In addition to having to locate pharmacies on the way to fuel up, she repaired various technical and mechanical problems during the journey and after having problems on some longer downhill slopes she ordered a shoemaker to nail leather on the brake blocks thus inventing brake lining. She arrived at her destination and sent Karl Benz a Telgram announcing the fact & Today the event is considered world’s first long-distance journey by automobile and iscelebrated every two years in Germany with an antique automobile rally called the Bertha Benz Memorial Route and is signposted from Mannheim via Heidelberg to Pforzheim (Black Forest) and back.

Benz’s Model 3 made its debut at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris; about twenty-five Motorwagens were built between 1886 and 1895. Karl Benz to enlarge the factory in Mannheim to keep up with The great demand for stationary internal combustion engines By 1899 Benz was the largest automobile company in the world.It was then recommended that Benz should create a less expensive vehicle suitable for mass production. In 1893, Karl Benz created the Victoria, a two-passenger automobile with a 2.2 kW (3.0 hp) engine, which could reach the top speed of 18 km/h (11 mph) and had a pivotal front axle operated by a roller-chained tiller for steering. The model was successful with 85 units sold in 1893. The Benz Velo also participated in the world’s first automobile race, the 1894 Paris to Rouen, where Émile Roger finished 14th, after covering the 127 km (79 mi) in 10 hours 01 minute at an average speed of 12.7 km/h (7.9 mph). In 1895, Benz designed the first truck in history, with some of the units later modified by the first motor bus company: the Netphener, becoming the first motor buses in history. In 1896, Karl Benz was granted a patent for his design of the first flat engine. It had horizontally opposed pistons, a design in which the corresponding pistons reach top dead centre simultaneously, thus balancing each other with respect to momentum. Flat engines with four or fewer cylinders are most commonly called boxer engines or horizontally opposed engines. This design is still used by Porsche, Subaru, and some high performance engines used in racing cars (Like Richard Burns’ Subaru Impreza WRC-See below) & BMW motorcycles.

Although Gottlieb Daimler died in March 1900. competition with Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) in Stuttgart began to challenge the leadership of Benz & Cie. In October 1900 the main designer of DMG, Wilhelm Maybach, built the engine  to the specifications of Emil Jellinek Jellinek, who stipulated the new engine be named Daimler-Mercedes (after his daughter). Maybach designed the model during the next few years he obtained good results racing the vehicles, this encouraged DMG to engage in commercial production of automobiles. Benz countered with the Parsifil, introduced in 1903 with a vertical twin engine that achieved a top speed of 37 mph (60 km/h). Soon after Karl Benz announced his retirement from design management on January 24, 1903, although he remained as director on the Board of Management through its merger with DMG in 1926 and, remained on the board of the new Daimler-Benz corporation until his death in 1929. Benz son Richard returned to the company in 1904 as the designer of passenger vehicles along with continuing as a director of Benz & Cie..That year, sales of Benz & Cie. reached 3,480 automobiles, and the company remained the leading manufacturer of automobiles.

In 1906 Karl Benz, Bertha Benz, and their son, Eugen, then founded the private company, C. Benz Sons (German: Benz Söhne), producing automobiles and gas engines.The latter type was replaced by petrol engines because of lack of demand. The Benz Sons automobiles were of good quality and became popular in London as taxis.In 1909, the Blitzen Benz was built in Mannheim by Benz & Cie. The bird-beaked vehicle had a 21.5-liter (1312ci), 😮 150 kW (200 hp) engine, and on November 9, 1909 in the hands of Victor Hémery of France, the land speed racer at Brooklands, set a record of 226.91 km/h (141.94 mph), said to be “faster than any plane, train, or automobile” at the time, a record that was not exceeded for ten years by any other vehicle. It was transported to several countries, including the United States, to establish multiple records of this achievement. During a birthday celebration for him in his home town of Karlsruhe on November 25, 1914, the seventy-year-old Karl Benz was awarded an honorary doctorate by his alma mater, the Karlsruhe University, thereby becoming—Dr. Ing. h. c. Karl Benz.

Participation in sports car racing became a major method to gain publicity for manufacturers and the Benz Velo participated in the first automobile race: Paris to Rouen 1894.Later, investment in developing racecars for motorsports produced returns through sales generated by the association of the name of the automobile with the winners and soon Unique race vehicles were being built. Including the Benz Tropfenwagen, which was introduced at the 1923 European Grand Prix at Monza and became the first mid-engine aerodynamically designed Racing car. In 1924 both Benz Cie and DMG signed an “Agreement of Mutual Interest” which saw Both enterprises use standardized design, production, purchasing, sales, and advertising— marketing their automobile models jointly—although keeping their respective brands. Then in 1926, Benz & Cie. and DMG finally merged as the Daimler-Benz company, naming all of its automobiles, Mercedes Benz, honoring the most important model of the DMG automobiles, the 1902 Mercedes 35 hp, along with the Benz name. The name of that DMG model had been selected after ten-year-old Mercédès. Karl Benz was a member of the new Daimler Benz board of management for the remainder of his life. A new logo was created, consisting of a three pointed star (representing Daimler’s motto: “engines for land, air, and water”) with the laurels from the Benz logo. In 1927, the number of units sold tripled and the diesel line was launched for truck production.Then In 1928 the Mercedes-Benz SSK was presented. Sadly On April 4, 1929, Karl Benz passed away at his home in Ladenburg at the age of eighty-four from a bronchial inflammation. The Benz home now has been designated as historic and is used as a scientific meeting facility for a nonprofit foundation, the Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz Foundation, that honors both Bertha and Karl Benz for their roles in the history of automobiles.

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