Bertha Benz

Article

January 26, 2022

Bertha Benz, born Bertha Ringer (May 3, 1849 Pforzheim – May 5, 1944) was married to Carl Benz, the inventor of the first car with a petrol engine. She has gained fame as the first motorist in the world. On August 5, 1888, unbeknownst to her husband and accompanied by her two sons, 15-year-old Richard and 14-year-old Eugen, she made a long-distance journey in her husband's experimental car, from Mannheim to Pforzheim. , a distance of 106 km. Halfway through (in Wiesloch) she had to top up with petrol (ligroin), which she bought in a pharmacy (now known as the first gas station in history). The vehicle reached a maximum speed of 15 km per hour. The official reason Bertha Benz gave for this long car ride was that she wanted to visit her mother in Pforzheim. But she had another reason. She felt that her husband focused too much on the technical side of things and did too little to generate commercial interest in his invention. With her journey, which caused much sensation, she succeeded well in this. The ride had to be interrupted several times due to defects, which were remedied with the assistance of village blacksmiths and the like. These defects, which Bertha Benz extensively reported to her husband, provided the impetus for him to make improvements to his invention. So it was at her request that he later fitted an extra gear to make it easier to drive on ascending routes. There is a touristic Bertha Benz Memorial Route in Baden-Württemberg that follows the historic route of Bertha Benz.

Literature

Angela Elis: Mein Traum ist longer als die Nacht. Who Bertha Benz ihren Mann zu Weltruhm fuhr. Hoffmann und Campe, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-455-50146-9.

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