Bertha Benz

Ms. Bertha Benz undertook the first long-distance automobile trip. In 1888 she drove Karl Benz’s patented motorized wagon, the three-wheeled Patent-Motorwagen, about 60 miles from Mannheim to Pforzheim, refueling by buying petroleum ether at an apothecary’s shop in Wiesloch that now calls itself “the world’s first filling station.”

During the trip, Wikipedians wrote, “she solved numerous problems. …A blacksmith had to help mend a chain at one point. The brakes needed to be repaired and, in doing so, Bertha Benz invented brake lining. She also had to use a long, straight hatpin to clean a fuel pipe, which had become blocked, and to insulate a wire with a garter. She left Mannheim around dawn and reached Pforzheim somewhat after dusk, notifying her husband of her successful journey by telegram. She drove back to Mannheim the next day.”

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