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Ref n° 2010-61 Part a – Essential Information


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Memory of the World Register
the BENZ Patent of 1886
(Germany)

REF N° 2010-61
Part A – Essential Information

1 Summary

Individual motorization and mobility in its nearly 150-year history has given rise to arguably the world’s largest technological system. Indeed, its record is impressive with roughly 800 million private passenger cars, an annual production capacity of about 80 million vehicles and further signs of growth despite a world financial crisis. Even at the level of the product itself, the automobile appears to be extremely significant; seen as a system component at the centre of a networked industry of suppliers and subcontractors, the automobile is the most complex, mass-produced consumer good. From a socio-technical systems point of view, the automobile is unquestionably of the greatest economic and cultural importance in industrialized countries and soon will take on an equally important role in the newly industrialized countries.


The beginning of this system, whose inventive origins lie in Southwest Germany with Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Stuttgart and with Carl Benz in Mannheim, is therefore, of utmost relevance. This is especially true of the work of Carl Benz. The unique feature of his innovation was the idea of developing and building the motor carriage and engine together. From the heavy and slow-running stationary combustion engine, a lighter, gasoline motor more suitable for mobile applications was developed in his workshops. This, along with a chassis based on the lightweight construction of bicycles and carriages, led to a new device, the motor car (Motorwagen).
This integrated approach deviated from the approaches of Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, which took place at nearly the same time. Initially, they designed an engine to be built into existing vehicles, boats and aircraft; it was only later that they concentrated on road vehicles. Though Daimler and Maybach developed a wooden motorcycle (Reitwagen) with outrigger wheels in 1885, it can be just as little placed in the evolutionary development of a practicable, self-contained motor vehicle as their motorisation of the acquired Americaine carriage in the following year. It was not until 1888 that Daimler and Maybach constructed a four-wheeled vehicle, later called the steel wheel automobile (Stahlradwagen), which was based on bicycle technology and whose chassis was built by NSU1 in Neckarsulm.
While it is true that the southwest German inventors did draw on the work of others, one need only think of the electric and steam-driven vehicles that were developed before and during their time and the drive as well as chassis technology which reflected the technological standards of the times, yet the significance of their work was incomparable. The history of the gasoline-powered automobile would have taken another course had Carl Benz not fully developed the car from the idea stage to its patentability and use in practice and finally to its acceptance by the market and the resulting export possibilities this opened. Carl Benz’s invention has become the basis for a key industry in Germany. The fact that the invention of the automobile took place here has become part of the technical and cultural identity of the country. Private passenger cars later spread out internationally via France where the culture of automobilisme actually started. Thus, the transnational relevance of the invention is considerable. The work of the Mannheim inventor, which is typified by the patent of 1886, marks the beginning of this global process, i.e. the emergence of the “automobile society” in industrial countries and the spreading of this pattern around the world. Benz’s patent laid the conceptual groundwork for the development of individual mobility based on the automobile.
Central to the early history of individual mobility based on motor vehicles is a basic patent, namely, Patent DRP 37435 “Vehicle with gas engine operation” submitted by Carl Benz, Mannheim and dated 29 March 1886. The patent claims which are set down there refer to a self-propelled vehicle for the conveyance of “one to four persons” with a “small gasoline engine of whatever type” which obtains its gasoline “from an apparatus carried on board in which gasoline derived from ligroin or other volatile substances is produced”.
This patent, therefore, can be seen as the basis for the invention of the automobile with an internal combustion engine running on liquid fuel. Accordingly, this document is exceptionally important both nationally and internationally. The ideas documented in the patent can be viewed as the technical groundwork for the individual motorisation sketched above. In view of the missing original patent document made out to Carl Benz, the protection of the only known printed copy in the possession of the Daimler-Benz Museum seems advisable. Contextualising historical records are one-of-a-kind historical documents from the time of the first serial production in 1888 and from the time of the market introduction of the gasoline automobile. They are being nominated in order to put the patent in context. These eight contextualising documents are in the possession of Daimler AG, too. Together with the patent, these documents bear witness to one the most far-reaching technical innovations of the late 19th century.

2 Details of the Nominator
2.1 Name

TECHNOSEUM - Landesmuseum für Technik und Arbeit, Mannheim


2.2 Relationship to the documentary heritage nominated

The TECHNOSEUM is one of the leading technical and historical institutes in Germany with the mandate to research, document and demonstrate to the public in exemplary fashion southwest Germany’s contribution to the modern development of technology and the economy. The nomination is made in agreement with Daimler AG, Archive and Collection, as the owner of the nominated documents.


2.3 Contact person

Prof. Dr. Hartwig Lüdtke


2.4. Contact details

TECHNOSEUM

Landesmuseum für Technik und Arbeit in Mannheim

Museumsstraße 1

D – 68165 Mannheim

Telefon: ++49 621 4298-747

Fax: ++49 621 4298-781

E-Mail: Hartwig.Luedtke@technoseum.de

URL: www.technoseum.de
3 Identity and Description of the Documentary Heritage
3.1 Name and identification details of the items being nominated


  1. Patent DRP 37435 “Vehicle with gas engine operation” submitted by Carl Benz, Mannheim

Dated 29 January 1886.
Daimler AG Collection, Archive and Collection, Stuttgart, Germany
Accompanied by eight contextualising historic records from the correspondence between the Grand Ducal District Administrative Regional Office of Mannheim (Großherzogliches Bezirksamt Mannheim) and Carl Benz regarding the use of the Benz Patent Motorwagen on public roads, 1888-1893 (Nr. 35197, 97797, 34778, 4523, 107959 II, 35774)


  1. Großherzogliches Bezirksamt Mannheim

Nr. 35197

Regarding driving on public roads

Dated 2 (crossed out) 8 June 1888

Daimler AG Collection, Archive and Collection, Stuttgart, Germany




  1. Großherzogliches Bezirksamt Mannheim

Nr. 97797

Regarding driving on public roads

Dated 14 September 1890

Daimler AG Collection, Archive and Collection, Stuttgart, Germany




  1. Ministry of the Interior

Nr. 34778

Request of permission from Benz & Cie in Mannheim regarding driving on public roads

Dated 30 November 1893

Daimler AG Collection, Archive and Collection, Stuttgart, Germany




  1. Certificate of approval to drive on public roads and lanes of the Grand Duchy (Großherzogtum) with the Benz Patent Motorwagen

Dated 30 November 1893

Daimler AG Collection, Archive and Collection, Stuttgart, Germany




  1. Request of permission from Benz & Cie Rheinische Gasmotorenfabrik in Mannheim to drive on public roads with their Motorwagen

Nr. 107959 II

Dated 3 January 1896

Daimler AG Collection, Archive and Collection, Stuttgart, Germany


  1. Ministry of the Interior

Request of permission from Benz & Cie regarding driving on public roads

Nr. 4523


Dated 13 February 1895

Daimler AG Collection, Archive and Collection, Stuttgart, Germany




  1. Ministry of the Interior

Nr. 35774

Dated 20 December 1895

Daimler AG Collection, Archive and Collection, Stuttgart, Germany
3.2 Description
3.2.1. Description and inventory


  1. Printed certificate, 4 pages




  1. Handwritten document, 2 pages




  1. Handwritten document, 1 page




  1. Handwritten document, 3 pages




  1. Handwritten certificate, 4 pages




  1. Handwritten document on printed letterhead, 1 page




  1. Handwritten document, 1 page




  1. Handwritten document, 1 page


3.2.2. Bibliographic and registration details

Daimler AG Collection, Archive and Collection, Stuttgart, Germany [see 3.1]


3.2.3. Summary of its provenance

There is a high degree of probability that the nominated patent in question was in the possession of Carl Benz or the company Benz & Cie.


The contextualising historical documents arise from the time of the beginning of the serial production and the market introduction of the gasoline automobile. They concern the correspondence between the Grand Ducal District Administrative Office of Mannheim (Großherzogliches Bezirksamt Mannheim) and Carl Benz and the company Benz & Cie regarding the use of the Benz Patent Motorwagen on public roads.
3.2.4. Assessment of physical state and condition

The copy of the patent and the contextualising historical documents are in good condition and stored and protected in the company archives of Daimler AG in a suitable manner according to scientifically-based archival practice.


3.2.5. Visual documentation

Copies of all the nominated documents as well as typed transcriptions of handwritten documents are provided as attachments to this application.


3.2.6. Bibliography [with English working translation of German titles]

Benz, Carl, Lebensfahrt eines deutschen Erfinders. 22.-26. Tsd. 1936, Leipzig (Erstveröffentlichung 1925) [Carl Benz’s Autobiography]


Kirchberg, Peter / Wächtler, Eberhard, Carl Benz / Gottlieb Daimler / Wilhelm Maybach. Leipzig (2) 1983.[Monography about the three inventors]
Möser, Kurt, Benz, Daimler, Maybach und das System Straßenverkehr. Utopien und Realität der automobilen Gesellschaft Mannheim 1999 (=LTA-Forschung, H.27) [Benz, Daimler, Maybach and the system of road transport. Utopia and reality of the automobile society]
Niemann, Harry, Benz & Cie. Zum 150. Geburtstag von Carl Benz. Stuttgart 1994 [monography on the occasion of Carl Benz’ 150ieth anniversary]
Ders., Wilhelm Maybach - König der Konstrukteure. Stuttgart 1997[Wilhelm Maybach. King of constructors]
Seckelmann, Margrit, Industrialisierung, Internationalisierung und Patentrecht im Deutschen Reich, 1871-1914. Frankfurt / Main 2006 [Industrialisation, internationalisation and Patent Law in the German Empire 1871-1914
Scheer, Stefan, Internationales Patent-, Muster- und Warenzeichen-Recht. Hürth / Köln (51) 1992 [International Patent, Specimen and Trademark Law]
Seidel, Winfried, Carl Benz – eine badische Geschichte. Die Vision vom „Pferdelosen Wagen“ verändert die Welt. Weinheim 2005 [Carl Benz – a history from Baden. The vision of a ‚horseless carriage’ changes the world]
3.2.7. Referee

PD Dr. Kurt Möser

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

Institut für Geschichte

Kaiserstraße 12

D – 76131 Karlsruhe



4 Justification for Inclusion/Assessment against Criteria
4.1 Authenticity

The nominated patent provides, without any doubt, authentic evidence of the invention of the automobile.


According to the patent law of 1877, patent claims had to be published in the Blatt für Patent-, Muster- und Zeichenwesen (Official German Journal of Patents) in Berlin. Furthermore, in section 35, paragraph 1, it says: “When the Patent Office decides to award a patent conclusively, a notice shall be published in the Patent Office Journal and a certificate issued to the patentee.” This certificate would ideally be the most worthy of preservation as the basic document attesting to the invention of the automobile. As the Imperial Patent Office (Reichspatentamt) lost all related documents following a bombing attack in the Second World War, however, further information cannot be obtained. The copies of the patent that were in circulation at the time, which were published by the Imperial Printing Office (Reichsdruckerei) were, however, identical to the original patent certificates in terms of content except for the cover (Scheer 1992, 426). The small number of copies that were made for each printing was not specified. Only one copy of the patent is known to exist today. With a high degree of certainty it can be said that this copy was in the possession of either Carl Benz or the company Benz & Cie; this copy is being kept in the company archive of Daimler AG. Beyond doubt, it is an authentic document of the times.

Given the fact that the original certificate issued to the patentee does not exist, and taking into account that the Reichspatentamt in Berlin was burned with all originals as a result of a bomb blast during the Second World War, the second best solution, and, from a researcher’s point of view, the optimal solution, is hence the nomination of the printed copy of the patent, the only one copy known to exist today.


4.2 World significance, uniqueness and irreplaceability

The patent for a “Vehicle with gas engine operation”, which Carl Benz submitted in 1886, is of worldwide significance and documents the beginning of the emergence of individual mobilization in industrialized countries and its spreading out over the entire world. As the original patent issued to Carl Benz is missing as well as other significant historical records relating to the creation of the Benz Patent Motorwagen in Mannheim including the patent drawings and documents which were submitted in support of the patent application, it seems that the preservation of the printed copy of the patent in the possession of Daimler-Benz Museum is the best solution. There are also a number of rare and singular documents in the company archive of Daimler AG from the time of the first series production in 1888 and the market introduction of the gasoline automobile, which, as contextualizing historical documents, are also being nominated for inscription on the international Memory of the World register. Together with the patent, these documents bear witness, in a unique and irreplaceable way, to the origin of today’s “automobile society”.


4.3 Criteria
Criterion (a) – Time

The Benz patent of 1886 marks the origin of the automobile as a socio-technical system and the beginning of individual mobility. The unique feature of Benz’s innovation was the idea of developing and building the motor carriage and engine together. This led to the development of a new device, the Motorwagen. This integrated approach is a unique feature, and deviated from the approaches of Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, which took place at nearly the same time. Initially, they designed an engine to be built into existing vehicles, boats and aircrafts; it was only later that they concentrated on road vehicles.


Criterion (b) – Place

Carl Benz’s patent reflects, in exemplary fashion, the significant role played by Southwest Germany in the development of the automobile, whose inventive origins lie with Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in Stuttgart and with Carl Benz in Mannheim. Carl Benz’s invention has become the basis for a key industry in Germany, and moreover, represents a major part of the technical and cultural identity of the country. Still, the transnational relevance of the development of the Motorwagen is considerable. It marks the beginning of a global process leading to the emergence of the “automobile society” in industrialized countries, and the diffusion of this pattern worldwide.


Criterion (d) – Subject and theme

The patent DRP 37435 “Vehicle with gas engine operation” which Carl Benz submitted on 29 January 1886 represents a technological innovation with social, cultural and historical consequences, which can hardly be overestimated. From a technological and historical perspective, the patent may be seen as the origin of the invention of the automobile with an internal combustion engine powered by liquid fuel. The concept set out in this patent is therefore to be seen as the technical basis of individual motorisation. It is of high significance and therefore deserves protetction.


Criterion (f) – Social Significance

The social, economic and cultural consequences of Carl Benz’s invention are nationally as well as internationally extraordinarily significant. Individual motorization has given rise to arguably the world’s greatest technical system with roughly 800 million private passenger cars, an annual production capacity of about 80 million vehicles and further signs of growth despite a world financial crisis. As a system component at the centre of a networked industry of suppliers and subcontractors, the automobile is the most complex, mass-produced consumer good. The automobile is of the greatest economic and cultural importance in industrialized countries and undoubtedly in the newly industrialised countries in the near future.


4.4 Rarity, integrity, threat and management

The number of printed copies of Carl Benz’s patent made could not be exactly determined. The verified copy in the company archive of Daimler AG is the only copy known to exist. The contextualising historical records also concern unique documents. All the documents nominated are in a good and complete state of preservation and are in the care of the company archive of Daimler AG where they are protected and kept according to archival standards.



5 Legal Information
5.1 Owner of the documentary heritage

Daimler AG

Archive und Sammlung

Mercedesstraße 137

D – 70327 Stuttgart

Tel.: ++ 49 711 17-2281

Email: juergen.e.wittmann@daimler.com

URL: www.daimler.com


5.2 Custodian of the documentary heritage

Jürgen E. Wittmann


5.3 Legal status:
(a) Category of ownership

Property of Daimler AG, Stuttgart, Germany


(b) Accessibility

The company archive of Daimler AG is on open access to anyone displaying a valid interest, such as journalists, academics, historians, Students and authors. The archive existed since 1936 and enjoys a good reputation in the areas of company history and technology research. The company archive is an active member of the Association of German Business Archivists (Verband der Wirtschaftsarchivare Deutschlands). It is on consideration that the document will be given to the TECHNOSEUM on permanent loan.


(c) Copyright status

The rights to the printed copy of the patent and the contextualising historical documents belong to their owner Daimler AG, Archive und Sammlung.


(d) Responsible administration

The printed copy of the patent and the contextualising historical documents are in the care of the company archive of Daimler AG, where they are protected and kept according to accepted archival standards.


(e) Other factors

None


6 Management Plan
6.1 Is there a management plan in existence for this documentary heritage?

A management plan for the copy of the patent and the contextualising historical documents does not exist. The printed copy of the patent certificate and the contextualising historical documents are in the care of the company archive of Daimler AG where they are adequately kept and preserved according to the standards of conservation of the cultural heritage such that further preservation measures are not required.


7 Consultation
7.1 Details of consultation about this nomination with the
(a) owner of the heritage

Daimler AG, Stuttgart


(b) custodian

Jürgen E. Wittmann


(c) national Memory of the World Committee

The nomination of this patent was discussed by the German Nomination Committee for the Memory of the World Programme in November 2008 and in December 2009. It was recommended that the present nomination application be made.


Part B – Subsidiary Information

8 Assessment of Risk
8.1 Nature and scope of threats to this documentary heritage

The documents are adequately kept and preserved in the company archive of Daimler AG.



9 Assessment of Preservation
9.1 Detail the preservation context of the documentary heritage

All documents are in good condition and in a secure environment. The storage and protection of the documents are in the hands of the qualified employees of the company archive of Daimler AG.




1 NSU was a German bicycle, motorbike and car manufacturer, founded in 1873 and later transferred to the city of Neckarsulm. The three Capital letters NSU, which became a brand and trademark from 1892 onwards, are actually shorthand for this city’s name. In the 1950ies, NSU was one of the largest producers of bikes world wide.





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