First Female Automotive Pioneer Bertha Benz Inducted into Hall of Fame

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Bertha Benz, first female automotive pioneer, was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame on the evening of July 21, 2016. As the visionary business partner of engineer husband Carl Benz (inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1984), she played a significant role in the filing of the first patent for the automobile in 1886 and demonstrating the road capability of her husband's invention. As a result, her place in history as the first female automotive pioneer has been secured.

Bertha Benz enabled her husband Carl Benz to run his own company and pursue his invention by providing the financial basis to do so. She invested both her inheritance from her parents and her personality to make a technological breakthrough possible.

"My great grandmother always was of great importance to me. The role she played in making her husband's invention become reality always used to be an important topic in our family. And personally, I was - and still am - putting a lot of efforts into helping to communicate that it needed Bertha Benz to make all this happen," said Jutta Benz, great-granddaughter of Bertha and Carl Benz.

"As the role of a wife was in the late 1800s, she also had to take care of the family, raise five children, do all the housekeeping, cooking etc. Thus, it was as twice as much she accomplished compared to a man. So if I may say so, it's about time that Bertha Benz becomes inducted to the hall of fame - 32 years after Carl and 130 years after her achievements. For me personally it is of great satisfaction that my great grandmother is being honored now."

Until now, Benz has been most famous for her legendary role as the first person to take long-distance automotive road trip, traveling from Mannheim to Pforzheim in August 1888 with her two sons Richard and Eugen, unbeknownst to her husband. What is today about an hour's drive (100 km or about 60 miles) took much longer during that era.

"In the years to follow and with new products developed, Benz & Company became the leading manufacturer of automobiles worldwide around the turn of century, said Christian Boucke, head of Mercedes-Benz Classic. "We are very proud that Bertha Benz is now in the Automotive Hall of Fame together with her husband Carl - she really deserves it!"

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the automotive patent of Carl Benz is a major contributor to the world's cultural heritage, and thus it was officially included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in May 2011, showing its global relevance and symbolizing the origin of today's mobile society.

This article originally appeared on auto.economictimes

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