(This is an article in simple English for my students.)
Nothing has changed daily life like the automobile. It changed modern society and is part of Germany’s industry.
It was not easy, in the beginning. People laughed at the first car. It had three wheels and a stinking, noisy one-cylinder engine. It was a horseless coach. Carl Benz made a patent for his invention on January 25, 1886. He did not know what to use the car for.
Then, one August morning in 1888, his wife Bertha secretly took their 13- and 15-year-old sons and drove from Mannheim to Pforzheim to visit her mother. The trip is 106 km.
After 45 km they ran out of fuel which was a cleaning fluid. She bought some at a pharmacy.
Also, the motor overheated, so they had to refill water at every roadside inn they found. On uphill slopes they had to push the car. Berta fixed the brakes with leather pads and repaired the ignition cable. She cleaned the fuel duct with a pin from her hat.
When Berta later returned to Mannheim, people were more interested in cars and inventors started having ideas on how to make cars better. Berta had proven that the horseless coach was absolutely suitable for daily use.
Without this brave woman’s trip we might not have cars today.
In May 2008 a sculpture was placed in Pforzheim to remember Bertha Benz’ first car journey.
Read the full article here.