The question being what took them so long? Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – July 23, 2016 Bertha Benz, the wife of motor car inventor Carl Benz, embarked on the first ever long-distance journey in automotive history on this Benz Patent-Motorwagen Typ III (patent motor car type 3) accompanied by her two sons. As the business partner and wife of visionary engineer husband Carl Benz (inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1984), Bertha played a significant role in the filing of the first patent for the automobile in 1886 and demonstrated the 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, which required a good understanding and a clear vision of the importance of her husband's work. It's easy to imagine that Bertha had a very strong personality, as she most certainly was not only the "important wife behind an important husband." Bertha was actually pushing him to trust in his abilities to make his vision come true, to get through hard times, and to try harder each time. Jutta Benz, great-granddaughter of Bertha and Carl Benz: The famous trip that launched an industry. Mrs. Benz was most famous for her role as the first person to take a long-distance automotive road trip, traveling some 65 miles from Mannheim to Pforzheim in August 1888 with her two sons Richard and Eugen, unbeknownst to her husband. This was the era where roads were nothing more than horse paths, open fields or sometimes worse. According to her great-granddaughter Jutta Benz, the road trip was very brave, too, since she didn't tell her husband about her plans. If a problem occurred, she fixed it. She stopped at a pharmacy in Wiesloch which became the first gas station of the world to buy "Ligroin," a cleaning fluid that kept the car running. Another stop included a shoemaker shop to have him repair the leather on a brake shoe. The pin of her hat was used to clean a clogged fuel line, and she resolved a problem of an ignition wire by using her garter as an insulator. That also proves that she had certain knowledge of the technology how the patent motor car was being operated. Her findings also helped Carl Benz to improve the car further, so she also was the first quality manager of the automobile industry. With her pioneering trip she proved the suitability of her husband's invention for daily use. For even more detail on that jaunt, consider the Not Your Ordinary Road Trip: Circa 1888 write-up from 2013. But that was just the start of an ongoing story of success for the automobile. This road trip not only reaffirmed Carl Benz's work, but bolstered both sales and marketing efforts in making the Benz patent motor car a success on the market. 1893 4-wheeler "Victoria" Model Carl and Bertha Benz with friends going out for a ride. In the years that followed and with new products, Benz & Company became a leading manufacturer of automobiles worldwide through the turn of century more than 100 years ago.