|Bertha Benz must let cash out her inheritance in advance
Karl Benz`s first invention is marketed already fairly successful but he himself does not settle down. There is too much squarrel between the self-appointed experts and the real one. So it comes to a break up with the "Gas Engine Factory Mannheim" founded in 1882 and again the married couple Benz who`s children number four in the meantime is faced with ruin. But they haul themselves to their feet again, looks for more sensible financiers and,already in 1883, founds the 'Benz & Cie Rhine Gas Engine Factory Mannheim'.
|Time for the development of the famous tricycle
Although not always seen positive by his partners, the company founder turns away from the topical production and thinks intensely of the construction of an engine-driven vehicle. In 1886 he has completed a special vehicle with four-stroke engine and obviously disregarded the already existing patent for a four-stroke engine by patenting the complete vehicle! Moreover, Ottos patents are decleared invalid the same year. The engine´s performance is similar to Daimler`s first one, but with lower RPM. Because of difficulties with the construction of the steering the carriage has only one front wheel.
|Progress with inventions, patent difficulties
According to today's knowledge two people who have probably never met, regardless of each other, invented the car. However, this is only german truth. There are similar attempts in America and maybe already a precursor in Vienna for which one has only forgotten to secure the patent rights in time. The inaccuracy of this right is shown by Nikolaus August Otto`s life of suffering who`s first patents were initially acknoledged and later withdrawn again. However, it is clear that there are certain times when accompanying technologies have widely prospered so that a certain invention is due and inevitable. Moreover, there is a whole series of criteria which one can apply to this, e.g. if afterwards a small serial production is possible or if it remains a unique piece. Experience with the useability of the product is of course part of this as well.
|In spite of recognition missing commercial success
It is also clear, however, that the public acceptance mostly limps behind. So the first inventors face remarkable difficulies launching their products, in Germany for example by driving bans and other limitations. The population is amused about the strange vehicle while on the other hand some journalists perceive the signs of time and above all future. In case of Karl Benz the successful presentation of the product on exhibitions still doesn`t mean commercial success. In the biggest need Karl Benz´s wife`s famous test drive proves helpful. She is probably the first person promoting car sales.
|The 4 wheel initiates gigantic developing push
Important first-stage victory for the development of the company is 4-wheeled Viktoria. From now on Benz is much better off saling vehicles than his greatest rival Daimler. A lighter, cheaper version follows called 'Velo'. In 1897 they develop the more powerful Contra-engine. The company becomes biggest car manufacturer and turns into a joint-stock company in 1900.
|After 1900 the competition becomes harder.
Finally, also Karl Benz does not escape his fate. As competition grows stronger and sales clearly decrease there is disagreement in the new company concerning model politics. Benz`s partner recognizes the results of the Daimler Engine Company and orders other designers to construct more modern vehicles which may probably be suitable for racing as well. Karl Benz cannot deal with this rivalry in his own company.
|Company develops (almost) without Karl Benz.
In principle, Karl Benz leaves his own company in1903, although he keeps his supervisory board mandate and also profits from the company shares. Together with his sons, in 1906 he even founds an enterprise of similar name which will later develop to an important supplier for the car industry. Meanwhile, the Benz company with the new model politics reaches its former greatness again.
|Truck and diesel engines play an important role.
Benz experiences the union of his old company and Daimler in 1926. Even though his company is not considered equipollent partner, it can however assert itself in the new constellation with her diesel know-how. Also the production of trucks with the „Süddeutsche Automobil GmbH“ (South -german Automobile Company) in Gaggenau taken over in 1907 and the new plant in Mannheim which exists since 1908 remains her domain. For this the passenger car production must be given up completely.
At the high age of 84 years, possibly result of his optimism and sporty life-style, Karl Benz dies in spring, 1929. He survives Gottlieb Daimler by 29 years. He is rewarded all conceivable honours, amongst others an honourary doctorate at the Technical Highschool Karlsruhe. He is free from all former financial troubles. His wife is involved in his commercial success in a way unusual for that time. 95 years of age, she still sees the year 1944. 1/10