Automobiles: The beginnings

2CV on the beach, 1967

The 2CV turns 75
Terrific "tortoise"

It is a symbol of France like the beret, baguette and Brigitte Bardot: the Citroen 2CV, nicknamed "tortoise" in Britain oder “duck” (“Ente”) in Germany. The 2CV was first introduced in Paris 75 years ago. A tribute to an automobile that has grown closer to the hearts of more people than almost any other over generations.

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Prince with vision
Wiper patent for Heinrich of Prussia

This prince is not known today because of his invention, but because of an item of clothing: the "Prince Heinrich cap" was made popular by him. This headgear was worn by the members of the Imperial Yacht Club. The prince, who was born 160 years ago - on 14 August 1862 - loved this cap.

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Wilhelm Maybach
The father of the modern automobile

Everyone knows the pioneers Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, but the name of perhaps the most important engineer of the early phase of the automobile is far less familiar: Wilhelm Maybach. Probably no one contributed so much to the technical development from motorised horse-carriages to the first real automobiles.

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Ferdinand Porsche
The engineer and his century

On January 30, 1951, one of the most famous automobile developers died. Most people know him as the "father" of the VW Beetle and founder of the sports car company. But Porsche also stands for several groundbreaking patents, innovations such as ASC/ASR, the first hybrid and all-wheel drive car - and entanglement in the Nazi regime.

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Horch 670 Sport Cabriolet

August Horch
The godfather of fast cars

His name puts a smile on the faces of classic car enthusiasts: August Horch, one of the great pioneers of automotive engineering. He is, among other achievements, mostly well-known as the founder of Audi.

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Benz Patent-Motorwagen

First car ride in the world
With hatpin, garter and 3 HP: Bertha Benz´ drive into the future

On August 5, 1888, a woman heralded the era of the automobile: Without Bertha Benz, the history of mobility would have been different. On that day, she took her first longer trip by car. And proved to her husband and the rest of the world that his invention was suitable for everyday use and had the potential to change everything.

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Drawing form patent doc

The parking meter
Patent for the "penny grave“

It is not exactly one of the most popular inventions of all time: the parking meter. On 13 May 1935, Carlton Cole Magee applied for a patent in the USA for the "Coin controlled parking meter". Since then, the "penny grave" and its modern successors have annoyed motorists worldwide.

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Citroen, via Wikimedia Commons

Last updated: 24 April 2024