The Beginnings of the Automobile in Germany

  • Otto Nübel


For centuries European civilisation has been concerned with the idea, inherited from the ancients, of a self-propelled means of transport. Even in the Iliad Homer spoke of self-propelled tripods. In early modern times there were attempts to apply mechanical power of various sorts. In the mid-seventeenth century, for instance, a clockwork-driven carriage is supposed to have run through the streets of Nuremberg. Steam was tried also, but the early steam engines were cumbersome and in locomotive form required special iron roads to run upon if they were to operate satisfactorily.


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  1. This information about events before the 1880s is taken from Eugen Diesel, Gustav Goldbeck and Friedrich Schildberger, From Engines to Autos. Five Pioneers in Engine Development and their Contribution to the Automotive Industry (Chicago, 1960). The book was published first in Stuttgart in German in 1957.Google Scholar
  2. For reproduction of both patents see H. Ch. Seherr-Thoss, Zwei Männer – ein Stern (Düsseldorf, 1984), vol. I, pp. 18, 25 ff.Google Scholar
  3. F. Sass, Geschichte des deutschen Verbrennungsmotorenbaues (Berlin, 1962) p. 86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. A. Bird, The Motor Car, 1765–1914 (London, 1960), p. 27.Google Scholar
  5. J. M. Laux, In First Gear: The French Automobile Industry to 1914 (Liverpool, 1976) p. 20.Google Scholar
  6. Carl Benz, Lebensfahrt eines deutschen Erfinders (Leipzig, 1943), pp. 79 ff.Google Scholar
  7. P. Siebertz, Karl Benz, (München-Berlin, 1943) p. 125.Google Scholar
  8. J. Neren, Automobilens Historia, (Stockholm, 1937), p. 103.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Theo Barker 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Otto Nübel

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