MONTVALE, N.J., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The automobile celebrates its
120th birthday on January 29. On this date in 1886, Karl Benz applied for a
patent for his "vehicle with gas engine operation." Patent DRP 37435 for the
Benz Patent Motor Car granted in November of the same year is regarded as the
birth certificate of the automobile. In later years the Benz organization and
the company formed by fellow automotive pioneer Gottlieb Daimler would merge
to form Daimler-Benz. Karl Benz is, therefore, credited as co-founder not only
of Mercedes-Benz but also the automotive industry itself.
Seven months after Benz filed his patent for the automobile, Daimler with
his master engineer Wilhelm Maybach attached his Daimler engine to a
four-wheeled coach producing the first "horseless" carriage. Following
Daimler's death in 1900, his largest distributor, Emil Jellinek, asked Maybach
to design a car more advanced than any other; it will be named for Jellinek's
daughter, Mercedes. The resulting Mercedes of 1901 defined the car as we
essentially know it today.
Unlike other inventors, Benz did not merely install an internal combustion
engine into an existing coach chassis. His design extended to the entire
vehicle: it was quite clear to him that a vehicle powered by an internal
combustion engine was subject to engineering principles quite different from
those applying to a horse-drawn carriage.
Benz created innovative technology with classic engineering methods: a
small horizontal, single-cylinder four-stroke engine running on gasoline,
electric ignition, carburetor, water-cooled radiator, steering and tubular
frame. With these features, the first motor car came into being in 1886. The
vehicle was an absolute original. All automobiles produced since that time
stand as heirs of the Patent Motor Car.
The rest of the Patent Motor Car story belongs to history. Three vehicles
were completed by 1888. One of them was secretly taken out by Bertha Benz,
the inventor's wife, who drove it with her sons 53 miles from Mannheim to
Pforzheim. Thus Bertha Benz became the "first woman driver." The journey
gained much publicity for the vehicle, and Benz sold a number of cars to
customers as a result.
A four-wheeled vehicle, the Benz "Victoria," followed in 1893. This again
incorporated numerous innovations, including double-pivot steering, which is
still employed in today's automobiles. And so it continues: with each new
vehicle, the automobile improves just that much more -- to this very day with
the introduction of the 2007 Mercedes-Benz S-Class which exemplifies the
essence of generations of innovative technology from Mercedes-Benz, the
world's first car company.
In addition to the original patent for the automobile, further
Mercedes-Benz "firsts" include: development of the safety car body with rigid
passenger cell and front and rear crumple zones (1951); electronic anti-lock
brake system "ABS" (1978); and Electronic Stability Program "ESP" (1995).
About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is
responsible for the sales, marketing and service of all Mercedes-Benz and
Maybach products in the United States. In 2005, MBUSA achieved an all-time
sales record of 224,421 new vehicles, setting the highest sales volume ever in
its history and achieving 12 consecutive years of sales growth. More
information on MBUSA and its products can be found on the Internet at
http://www.mbusa.com and http://www.maybachusa.com .
SOURCE Mercedes-Benz USA