Photo: Mark B. / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
Born: November 25, 1844
Born Place: Mühlburg, Karlsruhe, Germany
Died: April 4, 1929
Death Place: Ladenburg, Germany
Spouse: Bertha Ringer (m. 20 July 1872 – 4 April 1929, his death)
Education: University of Karlsruhe
Carl Friedrich Benz sometimes Karl Friedrich Benz (25 November 1844 – 4 April 1929) was a German engine designer and automotive engineer. His Benz Patent Motorcar from 1885 is considered the first practical automobile. He received a patent for the motorcar in 1886.
Karl Benz was born Karl Friedrich Michael Vaillant, on 25 November 1844 in Mühlburg, now a borough of Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, which is part of modern Germany, to Josephine Vaillant and a locomotive driver, Johann Georg Benz, whom she married a few months later. According to German law, the child acquired the name “Benz” by legal marriage of his parents Benz and Vaillant. When he was two years old, his father died of pneumonia, and his name was changed to Karl Friedrich Benz in remembrance of his father.
Despite living in near poverty, his mother strove to give him a good education. Benz attended the local Grammar School in Karlsruhe and was a prodigious student. In 1853, at the age of nine he started at the scientifically oriented Lyceum. Next he studied at the Poly-Technical University under the instruction of Ferdinand Redtenbacher.
Benz had originally focused his studies on locksmithing, but he eventually followed his father’s steps toward locomotive engineering. On 30 September 1860, at age 15, he passed the entrance exam for mechanical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe, which he subsequently attended. Benz graduated 9 July 1864 aged 19.
Following his formal education, Benz had seven years of professional training in several companies, but did not fit well in any of them. The training started in Karlsruhe with two years of varied jobs in a mechanical engineering company.
He then moved to Mannheim to work as a draftsman and designer in a scales factory. In 1868 he went to Pforzheim to work for a bridge building company Gebrüder Benckiser Eisenwerke und Maschinenfabrik. Finally, he went to Vienna for a short period to work at an iron construction company.