One cheery August morning in 1888, Bertha Benz took off in her husband’s car. She did not have his blessing.....
One cheery August morning in 1888, Bertha Benz took off in her husband’s car. She did not have his blessing. Nor did she have any spare fuel. Nor did she have a map with which to navigate her planned 100m journey from Mannheim to Pforzheim in Germany.
Her husband was Karl Benz, of the latter Daimler Benz fame, no pressure on Bertha then, Karl was not at all convinced his invention was ready for the open road. Bertha on the other hand had other ideas. She believed it was ready for the world, and moreover the world was ready to see a woman sitting at the wheel.
Bertha was also proved to be extremely resourceful. When she ran out of fuel, she purchased a petrol-based solvent from a pharmacy to get her going again. (It was the first petrol station in history!) She wasn’t fazed when the engine overheated. She gathered some water from nearby a stream to cool it down. Later in her journey when a fuel line became blocked, she cleared the blockage using a pin from her hat. Nearing the end of her epic journey when the braking system began to fail as she passed through a small town she found a local a cobbler and paid him to cover the brake shoes in leather. In so doing she invented the world’s first re-lineable brake shoe. A proper “brakethrough”.
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