Karl Friedrich Benz, German engineer and motor car manufacturer, c 1900.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Benz (1844-1929) was a pioneer of the internal combustion engine and automobile engineering. He developed a two-stroke engine between the years 1877-1879 and his first motor car was patented in 1886. German imperial patent 5789 was granted for the design of an 'oil spirit motor tricycle', the first complete conception of the motor car. The vehicle had a water-cooling system, electric ignition, a differential on the rear axle and was capable of reaching a speed of 10 mph.