The History of Cars: Who Invented the First Car

The History of Karl Benz

Was it Leonardo da Vinci who invented the first car? He may have inspired Karl Benz for his patented automobile.

1886: The First Patented Automobile

1886: The First Patented Automobile

In 1886, the first true, modern automobile was patented by Karl Benz, the person who invented the first car. This three-wheeled car was known as the Motorwagen. With that, Benz also patented the fundamentals of an automobile such as water radiator, gear shifter, spark plugs, and carburetor. Being successful in the creation of the automobile, Benz built the Daimler Group, a car company that exists to this day.

The 1500s: The Start of a Car Concept

1500s: The Start of a Car Concept
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The actual history of the car goes back to the sketch of a horseless, mechanized cart done by Leonardo da Vinci in the early 1500s. However, one could argue he was not the one who invented the car since it was not built in his lifetime. It remained a design for a few decades. The sketch replica is on display at the Chateau Clos Luce, a museum that was actually Leonardo’s last home.

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In 1600, Simon Steven of Holland rose to the surface by building a vehicle that was able to carry 28 people for 39 miles in two hours. In 1769, Nicholas-Joseph Cugnot built a steam engine vehicle. The vehicle moved at a walking pace, around two miles per hour and had to stop every 20 minutes.

The 1800s: The Invention of The First Car

1800s: The Invention of The First Car

The next decade, the 80s, was the year of Karl Benz and his practical modern automobile with engines. It was innovative and entrepreneurially convincing. Benz was credited for inventing the first car because of the practicality of his car. The same fundamentals are still used in today’s cars: a gasoline-powered internal-combustion engine.

The History of Karl Benz

The History of Karl Benz

Karl Benz was born in 1884 in the southwest of Germany. He lost his dad, a railway worker when he was 2 years old due to an accident. Living a poor life, his mother was still able to support Benz’s education. He was successfully admitted to the Unversity of Karlsruhe when he was only 15 years old. In1864, he graduated with a mechanical engineering degree.

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In 1888, twenty-four years after attaining his mechanical engineering degree, he built three Motor Car prototypes. This was not an easy road for Benz as his first venture into the sheet-metal life flopped. With support from Bertha Ringer, his new bride, she let Benz use her dowry to fund for a new gas engine factory. Through the profits, Benz started building gas-powered cars.

Seeing the prototypes Benz had made, Bertha decided that it was time for the press. She took the latest model and drove 66 miles to her mother’s home. It was a successful trip that exposed the use of automobiles. Benz finally demonstrated his Motorwagen at the World’s Fair, Paris in 1889.

Leaving a permanent legacy, Karl Benz dies in 1929, only two years after merging with Gottlieb Daimler as the manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz, the Daimler Group.

Now you know who invented the first car and all the little details.

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About the Author: Gary C. Lee

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