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Karl Benz

AKA Karl Friedrich Benz

Born: 25-Nov-1844
Birthplace: Möhlberg, Germany
Died: 4-Apr-1929
Location of death: Ladenburg, Germany
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Ladenburg Cemetery, Ladenburg, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Inventor, Business

Nationality: Germany
Executive summary: Invented the automobile

The inventor of the gasoline-powered automobile, Karl Benz interned at the Mechanical Engineering Society, then worked as a design engineer for many years in Austria and Germany. He opened his own business in 1883, the Benz & Company Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik (which translates as Rhine River Gas Motor Factory), building stationary engines for workshops and manufacturing. He designed and constructed his first "horseless carriage" in 1885, a tiller-controlled three-wheel steel-frame wagon powered by an internal combustion engine. His motorwagon was patented in 1886, and his test drives on the streets made of Munich made headlines for literally frightening the horses and children. He began marketing his automobile in July of that year. In 1888, his wife and children drove the vehicle from Mannheim to Pforzheim in a rather daring publicity stunt to demonstrate the machine's reliability, making Bertha Benz the first person to drive an automobile on an extensive "road trip".

Benz later invented double-pivot steering (1893) and the horizontally-opposed piston engine (1896), but by the early 1900s Benz & Company was falling behind its biggest competitor, Gottlieb Daimler's company, in innovation and quality. In 1903, Benz & Company hired several French engineers to improve the vehicles' design, and Benz resigned from active participation in his company in protest. In 1906 he founded a second automaking concern, K. Benz & Sons, which built automobiles until 1923, and is presently an auto parts maker and major subcontractor for Daimler AG. Benz himself remained a silent partner and member of the board at Benz & Company and subsequently Daimler-Benz AG until his death in 1929. His home in Ladenburg now houses the offices of the Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz Foundation.

Father: Johanns George Benz (blacksmith, b. 8-Jan-1809, d. 1846 pneumonia)
Mother: Josephine Valiant Benz
Wife: Bertha Ringer Benz (b. 3-May-1849, m. 20-Jul-1872, d. 5-May-1944)
Son: Eugen (race car driver, b. 1-May-1873)
Son: Richard (race car driver, b. 21-Oct-1874)
Daughter: Klara (b. 1-Aug-1877)
Daughter: Thilde (b. 2-Feb-1882)
Daughter: Ellen (b. 16-Mar-1890)

    High School: Karlsruhe Gymnasium, Karlsruhe, Germany (1860)
    University: BS Mechanical Engineering, University of Karlsruhe (1864)

    Benz & Company Founder & President (1883-1903)

Author of books:
Lebensfahrt eines Deutschen Erfinders (1925, memoir)

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