indiGO Auto Group

indiGO Auto Group is the destination for everyone who shares a passion for cars and the brands we represent!

Custom order your perfect car online below.

Women in Automotive: She is Known as the Mother of Automotive and Changed the Automobile as We Know it – Meet Bertha Benz

Bertha Benz
Bertha Benz: The Mother of the Automobile. | Photo credit: Automotive News

She was more than just a dedicated mother of five. She was also a catalyst for the growth of the automotive industry. This Mother’s Day, we remember Bertha Benz as the mother of automotive.

Thanks to her innovative contributions and perseverance in a predominantly male field, Bertha Benz earned the moniker “mother of the automobile.”

Bertha Benz
Bertha’s groundbreaking achievements in the automotive world earned her the title “Mother of the Automobile.” | Photo credit: Automotive News

You might have guessed it, too. Bertha was the wife of Mercedes-Benz founder, Karl Benz. Despite not receiving due recognition, she played a pivotal role in the design of the Benz Motorwagen and assisted in financing its development.

Carl Benz was an exceptional technician who submitted a patent application in 1886 for his motor car, which would later become the world’s first automobile, marking a significant milestone in history. However, his business skills were not as strong.

Karl Benz
Bertha Benz and Karl Benz riding the Benz Motorwagen (1894). | Photo credit: Auto Evolution

Fortunately, Bertha was a woman of action.

She was determined to demonstrate the automobile’s capabilities to the world and prove that she was not just a woman behind a successful man. Thus, Bertha decided to choose an intriguing course of action: A publicity tour.

You may also like: Women in Automotive: The Untold Stories – An indiGO Auto Group Series

And so, in 1888 Bertha Benz began her journey with the Benz Patent Motor Car.

Without her husband’s knowledge, Bertha departed with her two eldest sons. She left a note for her husband stating they were en route to visit her mother in Pforzheim, Germany –  approximately 60 miles away.

Mercedes Benz
The world’s first automobile: The Benz Patent Motorwagen (1886). | Photo credit: Edmunds

And it was this spontaneous trip that made Bertha the first person to drive an internal combustion-engined automobile over a long distance.

Bertha utilized her resourcefulness and ingenuity during the journey and made several repairs to the Motorwagen.

She used her garter to fix the ignition and a hat pin to unclog a fuel pipe. When the wooden brakes failed, Bertha approached a cobbler to install leather replacements, effectively creating the world’s first replacement brake pads.

Once they arrived in Pforzheim, Bertha Benz notified Carl of their successful journey via telegraph. And just as Bertha had hoped, the journey garnered significant attention.

Mercedes Patent Motorwagen
Bertha Benz driving the Benz Patent Motorwagen in 1886. | Photo credit: Auto Evolution

The drive was a key event in the technical development of the automobile.

Bertha solved several practical issues in the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, one being that the car had no fuel tank and only held 4.5L in the carburetor.

But her most notable accomplishment is the invention of the brake lining.

Mercedes Benz
Bertha Benz forever changed the course of automotive history with her innovative spirit and fearless approach to risk-taking. | Photo credit: Drive

At the time, car brakes were made of wood, which wore out quickly and did not provide sufficient stopping power. 

Bertha Benz came up with the idea of lining the brakes with a material called “studded leather,” which provided a much better grip and improved the vehicle’s safety.

Bertha’s willingness to take risks demonstrated that the motorcar was capable of long-distance travel, leading to a transformative shift in human mobility that would endure for generations.

More automotive history. Check out: They Call it “Golf Plaid” and it’s Part of Volkswagen History.

Mercedes Benz
Bertha pictured with her daughters on the Benz Patent Motorwagen. | Photo credit: Vintage Everyday

Her financial backing also helped with the inventions of:

  • Throttle system
  • Battery-powered ignition system 
  • Spark plug
  • Carburetor
  • Gear shifters
  • Clutch
  • Water radiator

Mercedes car
Bertha’s contribution to the automobile led to a transformative shift in human mobility that would endure for generations. | Photo credit:

There’s no better way to appreciate the contribution of Bertha Benz to the automotive world than by shopping the cars that incorporated and evolved her work.

Shop our latest inventory below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

When Her Love Language is Ferrari You Can’t Go Wrong with a 2023 Ferrari Roma or Portofino.
Ferrari Portofino

When Her Love Language is Ferrari You Can’t Go Wrong with a 2023 Ferrari Roma or Portofino.

Mother’s Day is coming up and you might be wondering what to give that special

The Verdict is in: The Porsche Taycan is the Best EV in the World. Here’s Why.
2023 Porsche Taycan

The Verdict is in: The Porsche Taycan is the Best EV in the World. Here’s Why.

Before Tesla, Elon Musk used to own Porsches

You May Also Like