Benz, Karl bĕnts [key], 1844–1929, German engineer, credited with building the first automobile powered by an internal-combustion engine. The car, driven in Mannheim in 1885 and patented in 1886, had three wheels, an electric ignition, and differential gears and was water-cooled. As a result of a merger in 1926, Benz's company became Daimler-Benz AG (now Daimler AG), the manufacturer of the Mercedes-Benz automobile.
See St. J. C. Nixon, The Invention of the Automobile (Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler) (1936); E. Diesel, From Engine to Autos (tr. 1960).
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