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Bertha driving Benz

May 18, 2012

In 1886, after 15 years of trial and error, Karl Benz finally patented his first automobile. He already manufactured three vehicles, but kept testing them only around his workshop in Manheim, Germany. Since the invention was never used on roads, nobody wanted to buy a thing which seemed so useless.

Then one day his wife Bertha had enough and took matters into her own hands. Without the knowledge of her husband, later Karl claimed he would certainly prevent her from doing so, she took two of their children for a ride, which became the first long distance automotive trip.  With this fearless act she demonstrated the potential of the vehicle that later changed the world.

Bertha headed to Pforzheim with the No. 3 car to see her mother. On her 104 km (65 mi) long journey the first driver had to overcome a number of challenges. After running out of fuel, Bertha stopped at the town pharmacy to buy Petroleum, than sold as a cleaning product and used it as a fuel. Ms. Benz must have been quite a mechanic as well. When the fuel pipe got blocked, she used her hairpin to clean it.

After whole day’s journey Bertha and her sons finally reached Pforzheim and send the telegram to Karl, informing him about the successful trip they just ended. It is no surprise that courageous undertaking received a great deal of publicity. And still today, more than 120 years later, you can celebrate the world’s first automobile journey by taking the Bertha Benz memorial route.


From → Get Inspired

  1. She certainly was a brave lady and I got a chuckle that she was on the way to visit her mother. Quite determined and even used a hairpin to clean the fuel pipe. Very interesting, I had never read about Bertha Benz before.


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