The 194 kilometers that changed the history of the automobile have a name and surname: Bertha Benz

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“Traveling by electric car is an odyssey.” “We are not prepared to travel by electric car.” “It’s all trouble.” With any of these statements, Bertha Benz could have stayed in her day. But, luckily, one day in 1888 she decided to take her boys, put them in something that could now be called a car and show that yes, that the car was an option great for covering long distances.


Specifically, Bertha Benz covered the 194 kilometers that separate Mannheim and Pforzheim, German towns between Frankfurt and Stuttgart. It is precisely in this last city that tribute is paid to Bertha. The woman who showed her husband, Carl Benz, that her invention was very useful has her own space in the museum that Mercedes Benz has raised in Stuttgart.

“Let’s go to Pforzheim to see Grandma”

At the end of the 19th century, Carl Benz was an engineer who was working on finding new forms of mobility, something that would improve the carts pulled by animals. In 1885 he managed to give life to his first caralthough he did not get a patent until 1986 for his car, then with three wheels and rear axle drive.

The Benz couple had been coming for the benefits of the device for a long time, but nobody seemed to be really interested in that device. Two years later, with her husband discouraged from her, Bertha Benz set out to prove to all skeptics that this invention was useful and could revolutionize the world.

Aware of all the benefits that a long-distance trip could bring her, Bertha took advantage of the fact that her husband was not at home to take their two children and begin to cover the distance that separated Mannheim from Pforzheim. When Carl got home he found the following note from his wife: “We are going to Pforzheim to see Grandma.”

Ahead of Bertha, a major challenge: 194 kilometers that are already history. In fact, the round trip that Bertha covered with her two children is now known as the Bertha Benz Memorial Routea tourist path that pays homage to the 104 outward and 90 return kilometers that he managed to cover and that automatically became the first long-distance trip aboard a vehicle.

Along the way, Bertha had to draw on numerous resources that later served her to perfect the vehicle for her husband. In addition to numerous stops at pharmacies to get ligroina petroleum-derived compound used to feed the combustion engine, the first female driver in history had to cover a cable with a rubber band, unclog a valve with a hat pin, and fix the ignition system with a pin from the hat. hair.

All this earned Carl Benz to perfect his car, with advice from Bertha that he needed to develop a effective brake system. The solution came in the form of soles for shoes, which glued to the wood acted as brake pads.

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But Bertha’s great achievement was to demonstrate how useful this invention could be. On her outward journey, the driver had to spend twelve hours and even push the device herself due to lack of fuel. For the return, she planned her route better, with the aim of going through numerous pharmacies where she could replenish the ligroin or spaces that would help her.

The trip was so exceptional that the press did not take long to echo the story and, above all, it allowed raising an expectation that encouraged her husband to continue developing his vehicle. Today, Bertha Benz is the Only Woman in the automobile hall of fame in the United States, a museum that can be visited in Detroit and that is right next to the Henry Ford Museum.

To better understand the story of Bertha Benz, there are two films available. The most current is Bertha Benz: the journey that changed everything. In addition, in 2011 it was released Carl & Berthain which the journey and history of the couple is narrated.

“Traveling by electric car is an odyssey.” “We are not prepared to travel by electric car.” “It’s all trouble.” With…

“Traveling by electric car is an odyssey.” “We are not prepared to travel by electric car.” “It’s all trouble.” With…

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