Founders and pioneers

Carl Benz.

Carl Benz was born in Karlsruhe on 25 November 1844 as the son of an engine driver. He studied at the Polytechnic in Karlsruhe and followed this up with a two-year practical work placement.

Carl Benz
Carl Benz

The beginnings

In 1871, he set up his first firm in Mannheim with mechanic August Ritter as partner. During this time, Carl Benz intensely occupied himself with the two-stroke engine, for which he was granted several basic patents. In 1883, Benz again found financial helpers and set up Benz & Co. Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik. The new company did a splendid business and gave Benz the financial security he needed to expedite the development of a motor car conceived as a unit. For his newly developed Benz Patent Motor Car, in 1886 he was granted patent No. 37 435 – the birth certificate of the automobile

In 1890, Benz & Co. Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik became Germany’s second-largest engine factory, and by the turn of the century had grown to become the world’s leading automobile manufacturer. On 24 January 1903, Carl Benz ceased active work for the firm and took a seat on the Supervisory Board.

Carl Benz Söhne

In 1906, together with sons Eugen and Richard he founded the firm Carl Benz Söhne in Ladenburg. In 1912, he retired from the company as shareholder and left it solely in the hands of sons Eugen and Richard.

Carl Benz passed away on 4 April 1929 in his house in Ladenburg, which today serves as seat of the Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz Foundation – Daimler and Benz Foundation since the end of August 2010 – and as a venue for various events.

Bertha Benz

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An overview of the founders and pioneers behind Mercedes-Benz AG and its precursor companies.