When you were in school and learned about Henry Ford and the assembly line, were you taught about Bertha Benz's momentous contributions to the birth of the automobile, and, by extension, life on planet earth as we know it?
I didn't think so. So to rectify the historical shortchanging of an intrepid female trailblazer, today we will highlight Bertha Benz.
Behind Every Great Man...
Bertha's husband, as you probably presumed, was Karl Benz. He patented what many consider to be the first motor car in 1888. (There were earlier steam-powered wagons.) At that time, it isn't apparent that Karl had envisioned the contraption being used for private personal transport. Karl would also have been forgotten by history without his wife, Bertha, who financed his ventures, encouraged his endeavors, tested his inventions, and executed a brilliant public relations triumph.
When the patent was granted, the prototype was barely more than a one-seated wagon, three wheels, a brake, and a motor that ran on ligroin or petroleum ether. It was similar to the vehicle in the photograph above which is displayed in the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart, Germany.
Nevertheless, Bertha decided to try it out without informing her hesitant husband, departing one summer morning while he was still asleep.
Her horseless carriage test drive wasn't a spin around the block, she decided to take her two sons and visit family 56 miles away!
They met an obstacle around every corner, but Bertha's ingenuity and grit helped her to hurdle every one and complete the round trip victoriously.
"She'll Be Comin' Around the Mountain..."
First off, there were no roads designed for "motorwagens." And there wasn't a gear to go up hills, so she had to recruit people to help her push.
Since there were no gas stations, Bertha planned her route so she could get petroleum ether at pharmacies along the way. The engine needed to be cooled continually, so frequent access to water was also important.
Fortunately, Bertha inadvertently wore a toolkit which was utilized for necessary roadside repairs including unclogging a fuel line with a hat pin, commissioning a shoemaker to line the brake pads with leather (the first brake linings), and contriving wire insulation from her garter.
Since your "buggy" has at least 1,000 more parts than Bertha's, it takes quite a bit more than hat pins and garters to keep it running. We invite you to trust in the service specialists at I-86 Truck & Auto Repair for all your car maintenance and repair requirements. To find out more about our comprehensive menu of automotive services, call 716-665-2501. To learn more about Bertha and see photographs, look at the websites below.