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British Industrial History

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Karl Benz

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Karl Benz (1844-1929)

1929 Obituary [1]

1929 Obituary [2]

BY the death of Herr Karl Benz, which took place at Latlenburg, near Mannheim, last week, Germany has suffered the loss of one of the pioneers of her internal combustion engine and motor car industries. Herr Benz, who was over eighty years of age at the time of his death, came of humble parentage. He was educated at the Gymnasium and Politechnicum in Karlsruhe, and began his career as a mechanic in a Karlsruhe machine shop, but by 1871 he was managing his own small factory at Mannheim. Seven years later he produced his two-stroke cycle engine, and in 1883 the new firm of Benz and Co. was founded. The firm interested itself in the production of motor vehicles as well as engines, and in 1885 the first motor-propelled vehicle of Benz's design was completed. It was a three-wheeled machine, with a 2 to 3 horse-power, four-stroke engine running at 250 revolutions per minute. Speeds up to 10 miles an hour were soon attained, but no immediate progress was made, either in Germany or England with the motor car. Benz was, however , supported by French interests, and the vehicle was so improved that in 1888 a Benz car was exhibited at the Munich Exhibition. When the firm of Benz and Co. was made into a limited liability company in 1899, Herr Benz retired from active participation in the firm's interests and lived in retirement.

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