Like many inventors in the field of vehicles Robert Bosch is from Swabia as well. He was born in 1861 when Germany as one state did not exist yet. As eighth child out of twelve, he comes from a middle-class family that runs an inn and stable. His youth is discribed as solid with little room for emotions. Other than many of his inventor's colleagues young Robert hardly gets into contact with certified technology. It is more the rural idyl and probably also the thrift which form him.
Also his time at school does not draw any conclusion as to his technical talent and later career. At least, the family moves to Ulm and Bosch gets the chance to visit a secondary school. He finishes with poor mathematics marks but nevertheless reaches the secondary school grade.. Finally, after several divergent interests he decides for precision mechanics.
Being apprenticed to the construction of mostly electric apparatuses didn`t bring Robert Bosch anywhere obviously. His long lasting travelling years, which were typical for that time, seem more importantly. Of course these were no journies for fun but work under the conditions of the respective country.
It would go too far to list all trades in which the young man extends his knowledge and abilities. He learns in different branches, first in Germany, later also in the USA where he, by the way, gets to know Thomas Alva Edison, and in Great Britain. In 1885, at the age of 24 he returns back home, marries, works for a short time as simple employee, however, founds his company in Stuttgart one year later.
Don`t consider this too romantic! You will not start a business with buying gigantic workshop equipment and then search for customers, it`s the other way round. Just like during the years of apprenticeship and travels, in the beginning of the company Bosch did not deal a lot with building vehicle engines. He rather behaves modest and invests only carefully. Precision mechanics is already applied, mainly for electric assemblies.
Now, let´s not get too interested in the very difficult early years and the repair of stationary aggregates but how Bosch got in touch with vehicle technology. By that time they use battery- buzzer or glow pipe ignition by which an open flame warms up a pipe in a separate room during the whole traction mode. The air - fuel mixture ignites more or less by chance when a flap opens that room to the combustion chamber.
Electric ignition, like many things in the beginning of engine technology, was founded by the Deutz company in Cologne. Since this low volt magneto ignition is not patented, Bosch can produce a very small series, indeed only for the relatively low RPM stationary engines. However, pressure to introduce this kind of ignition in motor vehicles grows higher and higher.
No one has ever recorded how many vehicles have caught fire by careless operation of the glow pipe warming. Imagine such an ignition on an airship with hydrogen filling! Also the battery-buzzer ignition is no highlight. Batteries are still subject to disturbances and generators do not exist. So one can drive only as far as the battery charge him, just like an electric car. 02/10