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January 29, 1886 – The automobile is patented

On this day in 1886 Karl Benz applied for a German patent for his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. He ultimately received patent number 37435 for the vehicle, which is widely regarded as the world’s first purpose built automobile.

Above: The engine in a replica of the Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Top:Benz Patent-Motorwagen

Benz, who first developed stationary engines in his career, utilized his own design of a 954cc single cylinder, four stroke engine that weighed just 220lb (100kg) and produced ¾ horsepower, to build his auto. While Benz designed and built the car, it was his wife Bertha who financed the operation. She also succeeded in marketing its success by taking the third Motorwagen built on the first long distance automobile trip. Here 121 mile (194km) journey demonstrated the vehicle’s ease of use and durability.


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