On January 29, 1886, Carl Benz applied for a patent on his “gas-powered vehicle.” In other words, it was 130 years ago today that the automobile was born, though it wouldn’t be until later in that year that Gottlieb Daimler, working independently of Benz, actually built the first motorized carriage.
While Daimler’s vehicle had four wheels, Benz had actually built what was considered the world’s first automobile the previous year when he installed a one-cylinder, four-stroke engine in his three-wheeled “patent motor car.”
Benz’ car was publicly unveiled July 3, 1886, in Mannheim. It was two years later when Benz’ wife, Bertha, demonstrated the everyday practicality of such a vehicle when she and their sons drove from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back in the Model III patent motor car.
In a news release marking the anniversary of Benz’ original patent, Mercedes-Benz notes that the “birth certificate” bears the number DRP 37435, the document registered with the German Imperial Patent Office in Berlin. The news release also notes that the patent document is part of UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program which also included things such as the Gutenberg Bible, the Magna Carta and the manuscript for Bach’s Mass in B Minor.