The first working steam-powered vehicle was likely to have been designed by Ferdinand Verbiest, a Flemish member of a Jesuit mission in China around 1672. It was a 65 cm-long scale-model toy for the Chinese Emperor, which was unable to carry a driver or a passenger. It is not known if Verbiest's model was ever built.
In November 1881, French inventor Gustave Trouvé demonstrated aworking three-wheeled automobile powered by electricity at the International Exposition of Electricity, Paris.
Although several other German engineers (including Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, and Siegfried Marcus) were working on the problem at about the same time, Karl Benz generally is acknowledged as the inventor of the modern automobile.
An automobile powered by his own four-stroke cyclegasoline engine was built in Mannheim, Germany by Karl Benz in 1885, and granted a patent in January of the following year under the auspices of his major company, Benz & Cie., which was founded in 1883. It was an integral design, without the adaptation of other existing components, and included several new technological elements to create a new concept. He began to sell his production vehicles in1888.
In 1879, Benz was granted a patent for his first engine, which had been designed in 1878. Many of his other inventions made the use of the internal combustion engine feasible for powering a vehicle.
His first Motorwagen was built in 1885, and he was awarded the patent for its invention as of his application on January 29, 1886. Benz began promotion of the vehicle on July 3, 1886, andabout 25 Benz vehicles were sold between 1888 and 1893, when his first four-wheeler was introduced along with a model intended for affordability. They also were powered with four-stroke engines of his own design. Emile Roger of France, already producing Benz engines under license, now added the Benz automobile to his line of products. Because France was more open to the early automobiles, initiallymore were built and sold in France through Roger than Benz sold in Germany.
In 1896, Benz designed and patented the first internal-combustion flat engine, called boxermotor. During the last years of the nineteenth century, Benz was the largest automobile company in the world with 572 units produced in 1899 and, because of its size, Benz & Cie., became a joint-stock company.
Karl Benz proposedco-operation between DMG (Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft) and Benz & Cie. when economic conditions began to deteriorate in Germany following the First World War, but the directors of DMG refused to consider it initially. Negotiations between the two companies resumed several years later when these conditions worsened and, in 1924 they signed an Agreement of Mutual Interest, valid until the year2000. Both enterprises standardized design, production, purchasing, and sales and they advertised or marketed their automobile models jointly, although keeping their respective brands. On June 28, 1926, Benz & Cie. and DMG finally merged as the Daimler-Benz company, baptizing all of its automobiles Mercedes Benz, as a brand honoring the most important model of the DMG automobiles, the Maybachdesign later referred to as the 1902 Mercedes-35 hp, along with the Benz name. Karl Benz remained a member of the board of directors of Daimler-Benz until his death in 1929, and at times, his two sons participated in the management of the company as well.
In 1893, the first running, gasoline-powered American car was built and road-tested by the Duryea brothers of Springfield, Massachusetts. Thefirst public run of the Duryea Motor Wagon took place on September 21, 1893, on Taylor Street in Metro Center Springfield. To construct the Duryea Motor Wagon, the brothers had purchased a used horse-drawn buggy for $70 and then installed a 4 HP, single cylinder gasoline engine. The car had a friction transmission, spray carburetor, and low tension ignition. It was road-tested again...