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125 years of the automobile - 1880 to 1889: the decade of the hobbyist

125 years of the automobile - 1880 to 1889
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A m fastest were the Germans Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach. These three are considered to be the fathers of the first automobiles in history. For decades Karl Benz has been named in the history books as the inventor of the automobile. Because on January 29, 1886, the Mannheim engineer received a patent for a 'vehicle with a gas engine drive' - ​​the Benz Patent Motor Car.

Karl Benz put the stationary engine on its feet

This three-wheeled vehicle applies as the first automobile in history. The car has a simple structure: a graceful tubular steel frame carries a wooden bench and a stationary motor on the rear axle, while at the front Karl Benz has dispensed with an elaborate Ackermann steering in favor of a single steerable wheel. Karl Benz donated his original patent motor car, the first automobile in history, to the Deutsches Museum in Munich in 1906.

A few months earlier, Gottlieb Daimler had already had his Reitwagen presents the forerunner of the motorcycle . On August 29, 1885, Daimler was granted the patent for his riding car, which was basically a running bike with a longcase clock motor attached. Two support wheels ensure the necessary stability in borderline situations, which, however, should have seldom occurred at a maximum top speed of around 15 km /h.

Automotive development picked up speed - initially cautious, because people were skeptical compared to the new technology. So it was mostly just tinkerers and hobbyists who dealt with the automobile and motorized locomotion.

The automobile is picking up speed worldwide

But not only in Germany was individual mobility an issue. In France, steam-powered vehicles were already common in the second half of the 19th century. And inventors in England, the USA, Austria and Denmark were also looking for a way to cover long distances as comfortably as possible. Significant developments that are often forgotten today were contributed by the Dane Albert Hammel, the Austrian Siegfried Marcus, the English Magnus Volk and the French Léon Serpollet. They all develop very similar vehicles - without knowing one another. The goal for all automobile pioneers is the 1880sthe same: You want to create a self-driving means of transport in order to achieve freedom in the form of individual mobility. The railroad had been around for a few decades, but now the next step was to be taken - away from the given route and towards individually designed progress.

The development was strongly based on the existing - bicycles , the railroad and horse-drawn carriages. In 1886 Daimler presented such a carriage with a built-in engine, the Daimler motorized carriage - the first four-wheeled automobile. Two years later, Daimler presented the steel-wheeled car developed together with Maybach. This light automobile with bicycle parts was one of the highlights at the world exhibition in Paris and completed dozens of test drives every day. The passengers, onlookers and of course the interested visitors from the trade were enthusiastic.

A courageous woman proves her suitability for long journeys

People's interest increased and the potential of the automobile was increasingly recognized. A woman also contributed to this: Berta Benz. In August 1888, on her trip from Mannheim to her mother in Pforzheim, she proved the reliability and ease of use of the new development. But she also reported on farmers and passers-by who insulted the car as a witch's cart and threw stones at her and her two sons. So people first had to be educated about the various possibilities and advantages of the automobile.

The second decade should finally bring the breakthrough in the mind, more about this in Part II from '125 years of the automobile'.

Our photo show shows the most important automobiles of the 1880s.


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