Motorwagen, the first automobile

On January 29, 1886, Karl Benz applied for patent No. 37.435 to the German government for his three-wheeled vehicle: the Motorwagen.

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Just like the American Thomas Alba Edison is considered to be the father of electricity - a merit that he actually shares with the Serbian Nikola Tesla-, the German Karl benz must be recognized as the father of the automobile, as it was the first to patent a vehicle powered by an engine.

At age 39 and after trying his luck in a company that sold construction materials, Benz started with the development of industrial engines.

In 1885, as part of one of his many projects, He fitted a tricycle with a 958 cm3 displacement single-cylinder motor, with less than a horse power and water cooled. He tested it without major problems in the city of Mannheim and there began the history of the automobile.


On January 29, 1886, Benz applied for patent No. 37.435 to the German government for its three-wheeler. He "Motorwagen”, As it was called, it is considered the first internal combustion motor vehicle in history.

Unlike other inventors of that time, Not only did Benz install an internal combustion engine in the vehicle's chassis, they managed to get it mobilized. They were an indication that horse-drawn carts were soon to cease to be the only means of transportation.

The innovative technology of the Benz followed classic engineering methods: a small horizontal, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine that ran on gasoline, with electronic ignition, carburetor and water-cooled radiator, among other things. The vehicle itself was absolutely original and from its inception all those produced since then were based on the principles of this model.

Three vehicles were finished before 1888. And Bertha, Karl's wife, had no better idea than to “steal” one from him. It said the vehicle needed promotion to be commercially successful. So he devised a trip to his mother's house.

One morning she brought her children up, Eugen y Richard, and his butler in the vehicle. They had to travel 80 kilometers from Mannheim, the place where they lived, to his mother's house, in Pforzheim (Germany). He returned home after five days of absence.

This trip - the first in history - gave the vehicle so much publicity, that Benz managed to sell a large number of cars as a result of it.

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Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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