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Internal combustion engine with electric ignition

In 1886 in Mannheim, Karl Benz presented for the first time an internal combustion engine with electric ignition in a three-wheel vehicle, considered to be the first car in the history. The engine had the power of 0.75 hp, which allowed the car to travel at 12 kmph. To start the engine, one had to turn a crank moving a flywheel, and it was steered with a stick which resembled a boat tiller. The car was patented under number 37435 and named Benz Patent-Motorwagen Nummer 1.

The public of the time did not, however, accept the invention. Users who were content with the popular 4-wheeled wagons with rotatable front did not understand the possibilities afforded by this new vehicle. Benz was unfazed by public opinion and continued to work on subsequent models. Social resistance was only overcome by his wife – Berta Benz. In 1888, she presented the automobile to a wider audience, becoming the first person to travel a 100 km distance from Mannheim to Pforzheim in the vehicle.

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