This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
When people think of the first automobile, the name Henry Ford typically comes to mind. But it was actually a pair of German engineers that brought the first car down the proverbial assembly line: the co-founders of Mercedes-Benz.
In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler was absorbed in creating a mechanism that would propel a bike frame under its own power – in other words, the first motorcycle. Without any knowledge of Daimler, Karl Benz was also busy at work crafting his own version of an engine that would propel a three-wheeled “Motorwagen” which he would patent in 1886 – effectively claiming the invention of the first automobile.
But Karl’s work wouldn’t have been possible without his wife Bertha. She knew people would be skeptical of a horseless wagon and was determined to prove it could go the distance.
With Karl weary of showing off his new invention, Bertha hopped into the tri-wheeled vehicle with her two sons in the passenger seats – and without Karl’s knowledge – set out on a 67 mile journey to visit her parents.
The impromptu excursion made Bertha not just the first person to drive a motor vehicle but also the first roadside mechanic. As this was a prototype, she ran into a few problems along the way – but had a solution for everything. Spark plug failed to ignite? A garter wrapped around the plug did just the trick. Fuel line clogged? A hat pin was the perfect size to clean the line. No petrol stations yet invented? No problem, Bertha took a specific route to refuel at pharmacies with ligroin – a cleaning agent derived from petroleum.
Moving at a swift 10mph, Bertha completed the twelve hour trek (which takes about an hour today). Skeptics abound, the trip was the first major step to bringing automobiles into our everyday lives – though we’ve thankfully come a long way from garters and hat pins holding things together.
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