Karl Benz

Article

November 27, 2021

Karl Friedrich Benz (Karlsruhe, November 25, 1844 - Ladenburg, April 4, 1929) was a German engineer, considered the inventor of the automobile.

Biography

Childhood and youth

Karl Benz was actually born with another name, Karl Friedrich Michael Vaillant, Little Karl was born when the two parents were not yet married, but when he turned his first year, they married and became the Benz family in effect. a family destined for a sad fate. His father, a train driver, died when Karl was just two years old, leaving his young wife in serious financial difficulties and with a very young child to raise. This tragic event did not make Josephine Vaillant give up, who changed the surname of little Karl from Vaillant to Benz in memory of her father. The woman, at the cost of considerable sacrifices and privations, was able to provide a solid education and preparation for her son. Her first studies took place at the Karlsruhe grammar school. Benz's hometown provided the opportunity to attend high school. Benz enrolled in that high school in 1853, just nine years of age. His great propensity for technical and scientific disciplines then led him to attend the polytechnic, which he began attending on September 30, 1860, and where he developed these attitudes under the eye of professors Redtenbacher and Grashof, who prepared Karl Benz for study of the engines. In reality, the mother would have wanted a career as a clerk for her son, but the young Karl's passion for technology finally prevailed: on 9 July 1864, Karl Benz received his diploma.

First work experiences

Karl Benz is said to have begun to focus on the basic concepts of building a non-horse-powered car in his mind, observing the mechanics of his bicycle as he traveled the distance between home and school. After completing his studies at the Karlsruhe Polytechnic, Benz enters as an apprentice in that Karlsruher Maschinenfabrik which a couple of years later, very shortly after Benz leaves this work experience, will see Gottlieb Daimler as technical director. Circumstances like this will be part of the very rare points of contact between the two characters, who will have fundamental roles in the birth of the car, but who in fact, despite residing and working at a short distance from each other, will never get to know each other. in person and will act each without the knowledge of the other. In 1866, therefore, Karl Benz left the Karlsruher Maschinenfabrik to move to Mannheim as a designer of scales and later, in 1869, to Pforzheim as director of a bridge building company. In this period he meets Bertha Ringer, who is destined to become his wife: she too will have a significant role in the birth of the automobile. However, the future Mrs. Benz had an influence on Karl Benz's professional life even before his marriage. In fact, again in Pforzheim, he founded a construction company together with his friend August Ritter, which however has a short life due to disagreements that soon arose between the two. Karl Benz needs a large economic fund to take over the shareholding of Ritter and Bertha Ringer convinces her father to grant her the dowry, which is used by Benz precisely to liquidate Ritter and register the company, now exclusively owned by him, as Karl Benz Eisengießerei und mechanische Werkstätte (Karl Benz Mechanical Workshop and Foundry). On July 20, 1872, Karl Benz married the enterprising Bertha Ringer and on May 1 of the following year the first son of the Benz family, Eugen, was born, followed by the second son Richard on October 21, 1874. If from a strictly family point of view the situation appears very happy, the same cannot be said with regard to business and the current situation.

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