The document that set the world in motion 130 years ago
It was the document that set the world in motion: on 29 January 1886, Carl Benz applied for a patent on his "gas-powered vehicle". This was the day the automobile was born. Later the same year, independently of Benz, Gottlieb Daimler built his motorised carriage. Thus it was that 1886 marked the beginning of the so far 130-year-long success story of Mercedes-Benz.
Stuttgart. The birth certificate of the automobile bears the number DRP 37435. For that was the reference under which the patent on a "gas-powered vehicle" filed by the Mannheim engineer Carl Benz on 29 January 1886 was registered with the German Imperial Patent Office in Berlin. The 130-year-old document is testimony to Carl Benz's innovative spirit, creative power and entrepreneurial vision. Since 2011, the patent document has been part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme, which also includes the Gutenberg Bible, the Magna Carta and Johann Sebastian Bach's Mass in B Minor.
Carl Benz developed the world's first automobile in 1885. To do this, he installed a high-speed one-cylinder four-stroke engine (954 cc displacement running at 400 rpm with 0.55 kW/0.75 hp output) horizontally in a specially designed chassis. The top speed was 16 km/h. This three-wheeled patent motor car was an absolute world first: a totally self-contained, self-propelled vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine.
The patent motor car made its first public appearance on 3 July 1886 on Ringstrasse in Mannheim. Yet it was the long-distance journey from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back in 1888 in the improved Model III patent motor car that was to fully demonstrate the automobile's suitability for everyday use.