1888 – Bertha Benz was married to Karl Benz. Karl was a genius at building machinery, but a terrible business man. And, he was not very good at pushing his ideas, or making them public. Very timid on all fronts. It was Bertha who not only stood behind Karl for more than 20 years of development, but also personally financed his efforts to create the 1st three wheel motor wagon.
The Catholic church, during that period, had a very dim view of anything mechanical, and almost looked at mechanized things as the anti-christ. Horses were not only celebrated, but were idolized, and contributed to Karl Benz not wanting to go public. All of their test runs were performed under wraps. Finally, Bertha took her 2 boys and set out to travel some 107 kilometers to her parents house. She wanted to get it out in public, despite the pressures by the government and church to not have anything like it.
During her trip, she stopped (strategically) in a little town where both fuel and spark plug insulator failed. Ligroy was a petroleum liquid that could only be found at pharmacy’s. Ligroy was used in the time as a solvent to take stains out of clothing. Bertha bought 10 liters where she stopped. Intimately understanding the mechanics, she resourced what she had on her using her garter to wrap the insulator for the spark plug. Her son started up again, making it to her parents home. The rest is history.
It was Bertha’s incredible drive and amazing spirit that pushed Mercedes Benz into what it is today.