Automobile by: Molly & Jarrett

The History of the Automobile

In 1831, though the exact year is debatable, a man named Siegfried Marcus developed the first working automobile with a gasoline powered engine. This prototype had no brakes, gearing, or seat and was extremely hard to keep moving. None the less Siegfried is credited with getting the ball rolling, or should I say driving, with this new way of thinking.

Siegfried Macus' design of a automobile

However, Karl Benz developed the first modern day car using a combustion engine in Germany on 1886. This idea was more practical than other competing ideas such as the electric car that at first seemed like the better option because they held the land speed record up until the 1900's. Unfortunately, their high cost and short battery life led to a decline in their usability. This made Karl's design very appealing to the public and is officially marked as when the car was first established.

Karl Benz's design of the modern day car

Karl Benz is not the only one in his family to strongly support and work on this new invention. His wife, Bertha Benz, handled financing the production of the vehicle and understood what it took to get people's attention. She knew the only way people would ever buy one of these cars is if they saw one up and moving and since Karl Benz was only willing to show his invention when it was completely perfect. Bertha Benz took matters into her own hands and took the car for the first ever road trip in 1888.

Bertha Benz driving the motorcar (re-creation)

She decided to head south to a town called Profzheim to visit her grandmother who was 65 miles away. This may not seem like much for today's standards but during this time it was a difficult task to accomplish in a reasonable amount of time. However, since there where no paved roads and gas stations, Bertha Benz pretty much had to wing it on her journey.

Memorial route of Bertha Benz's trip

This road trip was a success and got a lot of popularity for being daring and changing the way people could travel. This led to a few of the first purchases of the combustion engine style car.

Little did they know this was the start to one of the biggest changes in modern day life. Giving way to the ability to travel freely which led to a need for better roads and infrastructure designed specifically for the modern day car to get around quicker. This provided more jobs in the construction industry and encouraged transfer of goods and products. Enabling movement from city's to suburbs and maybe most importantly cars increased accessibility to things like schools and hospitals.

The cars we have today are still far from perfect and are not immuned to change. Just like everything else the car is always growing and changing with time. One of the new advances in the car industry is the advent of the "self-driving" car. Which uses laser beams to constantly generate a 360-degree image of the cars surroundings. Since Bertha Benz's route has become so historic, it was the path chosen by Mercedes-Benz to test drive thier new self driving car and was named after her.

Mercedes-Benz's self driving car on historic route

Even though we have perfected steering, parking, changing gears and many more there is still plenty of new challenges that await the next Karl Benz.

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