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Re: Karl Benz 1844-1929
Posted by: H. Andrew BROWN Date: March 20, 2001 at 21:21:38
In Reply to: Karl Benz 1844-1929 by Lori LaCosse of 287

120-1 Maria Anna SCHOTTM▄LLER b.11FEB1780 Pfaffenrot, Karlsruhe District, Baden, Germany d/o Antoni & Katharin {AXTMANN} SCHOTTMULLER. She m 18OCT1802 Marxzell, Karlsruhe District, Baden: Johann Michael BENZ(s/o Johann Michael) the Paffenrot village blacksmith - 'faber farrarius' - a nailsmith & maker of horseshoes.
120-1-1 Maria Josepha BENZ b.9FEB1805 P/Rot
120-1-2 Anton BENZ b.c1806 Pfaffenrot blacksmith & mayor 1821-39
120-1-3 Magdalena BENZ b.4NOV1808 P/Rot
120-1-4 Johanns George BENZ b.8JAN1809 d.1846..He was apprenticed outside Pfaffenrot in the blacksmith trade and early on recognized the potential of the railroad. He applied for a job in 1842 as an train engineer in the Badan Duchy's Railroad out of Karlsruhe but was given a job as stoker instead. However in six monts he was advanced to the position of engineer. He died of pneumonia incurred a few days after rendering aid at a railroad accident near St. Ilgen south of Heidelberg on a cold snowy day. He m Josephine VALIANT(her father had died in Napoleon's Russian campaign).
020-1-4-1 Carl Friederich BENZ b.25NOV1844 M§hlberg, Karlsruhe District, Baden, d.04APR1929GER He married 20JUL1872 Bertha RINGER(1849GER-1944GER d/o Karl). He left high school at age 16 and spent four years at the Karlsruhe Polytechnic, learning mathematics, mechanical engineering and thermodynamics. He first worked in a railway locomotive factory in Karlsruhe. Two years later he went to a machine company in Mannheim. In a hurry & wishing to be his own boss, he formed a partnership with August Ritter in 1871 for a small foundry and mechanical workshop in Mannheim. In 1872, Karl bought out Ritter's share and became sole owner of this company which initially mademachines to cut sheet metal. However the crash of the Vienna Stock Market in the early 1870's almost brought his financial ruin. He survived and from 1879 to 1886, he experimented and patented one & two cylinder three wheelers(tricycle types) gas powered autos. He never made much money on these small vehicles which had a top speed of ten miles per hour. In 1883, he lined up two financial backers, Max Rose & F. W. Esslinger, to found a new firm: BENZ & Company, Gas Engine Works of the Rhine. After two years and disputes with his backers, he found new backers in the persons of Julius Ganss and Friedrich von Fisher who took charge of operations and left Karl in charge of research & development.
In 1886, Karl Benz drove his first automobile through the streets of Munich, Germany. The car was the foreunner of today's Mercedes BENZ. The machine angered the citizens, because it was noisy and scared the children and horses. Pressured by the citizens, the local officials immediately established a speed limit for "horseless carriages" of 3 l/2 miles an hour in the city limits and 7 miles an hour outside.
Benz knew he could never develop a market for his car and compete against horses if he had to creep along at those speeds, so he invited the mayor of the town for a ride. The mayor accepted. Benz then arranged for a milkman to park his horse and wagon on a certain street and, as Benz and the mayor drove by, to whip up his old horse and pass them - and as he did so to give the German equivalent of the Bronx eheer. The plan worked. The mayor was furious and demanded that Benz overtake the milk wagon. Benz apologized but said that because of the ridiculous speed law he was not permitted to go any faster. Very soon after that the law was changed.
By 1900, Karl's inventions had made the BENZ Cie the leader in the industry with 2,300 cars built. The BENZ Auto Co.(BENZ Cie) merged with the Daimler Auto Co. in 1925 and today the Daimler-BENZ AG markets cars under the Mercedes-BENZ name. Pfaffenrot has named a school in his honor & Marxzell maintains a museum containing some of his creations. Wife: Bertha ? was an early auto enthusiast and was probably the first woman behind the wheel with drives from Karlhsruhe to Stuttgart.
..Karl BENZ resigned from BENZ Cie in 1903 & was replaced by Dr. Joseph Brecht who had started with the company as an office manager in 1883. His departure was probably stimulated by the fall in sales as other companies began to offer bigger & faster cars while Karl BENZ preferred sticking to reliability(smaller & slower cars). In 1905, with son, Eugen, he started a new auto company, Karl BENZ S˘hne, at Ladenburg near Mannheim. In 1912, Karl withdrew from the company leaving his two sons sole owners(Richard as managing director and Eugen as technical director). The BENZ company at Mannheim prospered. During WWI, the Benz's entire production was devoted to the German War effort. After the war, the Benz companies returned to the domestic market with high-powered luxury cars to uphold its reputation and excellent family cars to keep the factories humming into the early 1920's and employing at one point over 6,500 people.
Thus even with Karl BENZ in retirement, two companies operated with his name: BENZ CIE & Karl BENZ S˘hne. In 1924, the Deutsche Bank, which had a major interest in the the Daimler Auto Company, and the Rheinische Credit-Bank, which had a major intrest in BENZ Cie, began to push for the merger of Daimler & BENZ Cie which was accomplished in 1925. First president of Daimler-BENZ AG was Wilhelm Kissel, a BENZ employee who had started with the company in 1903 as an office clerk. With the merger, all future cars were called Mercedes-BENZ(Mercedes was a Daimler trademark). The merged company obtained an almost 20% share of the German auto market by 1929, but its business was severely hurt by the 1929 Stock Market crash and it took several years to recover.
By 1926, Karl BENZ S˘hne, unable to compete with larger companies, was out of the car business. However, Karl continued to serve as a director on the board of Daimler-Benz. In 1999, with the merger of Daimler-Benz and Chrysler, the BENZ name has been dropped however the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart can be visited on the Internet at - the site has many photos of Karl BENZ's early autos.
A lifetime of exercise which included swimming allowed him to live without major illnesses into his eighties. He died at his home in Ladenburg on the Neckar River between Heidelberg and Mannheim. He succumbed on 4APR1929 to a bout of bronchial cattarh. He is buried in Ladenburg's Friedhof / Cemetery outside of the village in a flat but well kept, as is usual in Germany - A rectangular stone with a bronze relief in front of an urn containing the ashes of son, Richard Benz, is surrounded by a curved stone pergola.
120-1-4-1-1 Eugen BENZ b.01MAY1873GER by 1900 was a prominent car rally driver..helped father found auto company(BENZ S˘hne) at Ladenburg near Mannheim in 1905. He lived in Ladenburg(between Mannheim & Heidelberg) into the 1950's
120-1-4-1-2 Richard BENZ b.21OCT1874GER by 1900 was a prominent car rally 1908, he joined father & brother at Ladenburg in running the business. His ashes are buried at Ladenburg.
120-1-4-1-3 Klara BENZ b.01AUG1877
120-1-4-1-4 Thilde BENZ b.02FEB1882GER
120-1-4-1-5 Ellen BENZ b.16MAR1890GER
----------- One daughter married Professor Karl VOLK
120-1-5 Unknown BENZ
120-1-6 Unknown BENZ

A distant cousin thru my SCHOTTMULLER Line, I am seeking further info on Karl's children and descendants.

H. Andrew BROWN


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