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In 1885, Karl Benz developed first gasoline automobile. Karl Friedrich Benz was a German engine designer and automobile engineer. His Benz Patent Motorcar from 1885 is considered the first practical automobile. He received a patent for the motorcar on 29 January 1886. This is considered to be the first “production” vehicle as Benz made several other identical copies.
The first gasoline automobile was run for the first time on New Year’s Eve 1879. Benz had so much commercial success with this engine that he was able to devote more time to his dream of creating a lightweight car powered by a gasoline engine, in which the chassis and engine formed a single unit.
The first gasoline automobile Karl Benz installed a high-speed one-cylinder four-stroke engine (954 cc displacement running at 400 rpm with 0.55 kW/0.75 hp output) horizontally in a specially designed chassis. The top speed was 16 km/h. This three-wheeled patent motor car was an absolute world first: a totally self-contained, self-propelled vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine.
Benz built his first four-wheeled car in 1891. He started Benz & Company and by 1900 became the world’s largest manufacturer of automobiles. He also became the first legally licensed driver in the world, when the Grand Duke of Baden granted him the distinction. What’s especially remarkable was that he was able to achieve these milestones despite coming from a relatively modest background.
The first long-distance journey in the history of the automobile
That journey was undertaken not by Karl Benz himself, but by his wife, Bertha. In a show of confidence in her husband’s invention, which had been filed with the Patent Office on 29 January 1886. Bertha Benz was accompanied by her sons Eugen and Richard – entirely unbeknown to the inventor – as she took to the wheel on this first long-distance journey in the history of the automobile in August 1888. Bertha and her sons thus proved how well the concept of a motor vehicle worked at the technical level. At the same time, they gave a practical demonstration of the today still typical application of a passenger car. This was set out by Karl Benz in his patent application when he referred to the “operation of mainly light carriages for the conveyance of one to four passengers”.
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