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.”
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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Her financial backing also helped with the inventions of:
- Throttle system
- Battery-powered ignition system
- Spark plug
- Gear shifters
- Water radiator
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.