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Bertha's Midnight Run
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You may have heard with the development of Autonomous Vehicles, driving your own car could possibly become illegal in the future. Perish the thought.
While we can’t predict future, let's take a look back at how we got where we are today. We can probably all agree the French Systeme Panhard gave us our current steering wheel, gearshift, and pedal layout, but the rest of motor car history is fraught with interpretation.
When did the horseless carriage turn into a proper motor car? Consensus says it happened when Karl Benz created the Motorwagen in 1885. He promptly drove into a wall during a public demonstration. (First car accident?). Others argue a gas-powered three wheeler doesn’t qualify.
Either way, while Karl tinkered with his design, delaying commercial introduction, his wife Bertha took matters into her own hands. In the middle of the night, with Karl asleep, she loaded up the two kids and drove from Mannheim to her home town Pforzheim some 62 miles away.
She ran into a few problems. A clogged carburetor was cleared with a hatpin, and as the brakes wore down, she had them lined them with leather. Her audacious gamble proved once and for all the viability of the motor car as a means of transportation.
Sure, parallel efforts may have given us the motor car at some point, but for those of us who love to drive, Bertha’s plucky midnight run leaves us eternally grateful things turned out the way they did. So far.