Bertha Benz’s Roadtrip

Karl Benz (of Mercedes-Benz) patented the first automobile in January 1886. But he didn’t think it would be a financial success. His wife proved him wrong. On August 5, 1888 Bertha Benz drove one of her husband’s cars from Mannheim to Pforzheim (64 miles.)

Although the ostensible purpose of the trip was to visit her mother, Bertha Benz also had another motive: to show her brilliant husband – who had failed to consider marketing his invention adequately – that the automobile would become a financial success once it was shown to be useful to the general public.

Bertha and her sons left Mannheim around dawn and reached Pforzheim somewhat after dusk, notifying Karl of their successful journey by telegram. They drove back to Mannheim three days later. The novel trip received a great deal of publicity as she had sought.

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