The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri

125th Anniversary of the Automobile

Karl Benz got started in the automobile business by designing and building stationary gasoline engines.  In 1885, he built his first Patent-MotorWagen and applied for a patent on January 26, 1886.  By the law at the time, the application date was considered the date of the invention.

 Karl's wife, Bertha Ringer Benz, played two important roles in the success of Benz automobiles.  First, while engaged in 1871, she invested her dowry in Karl's workshop, allowing him to stay in business as he developed his engines.  Second, in 1888 she attracted public attention to the automobile by making the first long-distance drive of about 60 miles with her two teenage sons to visit her mother.  She even made repairs on the way using her hat pin and garter.

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