Bertha Benz, the World’s First Car Thief

We’re honoring Women’s Equality Day by bringing you the story of a woman who shaped the history of automobiles forever. Bertha Benz was instrumental to the global car revolution. She helped build an entire industry, forever changing the way we thought of transportation.

The first crime of auto theft was committed by a woman.

Bertha Benz was the wife of Carl Benz, inventor of the automobile. Together, they lived in Mannheim, Germany with their five children. Bertha supported her husband’s ambitions to run his own company by providing him with the funds to do so. With money from her inheritance, unshakable determination, and bravery the duo was able to make history together.

Picture of Bertha Benz and her husband

Bertha Benz pictured with her husband, Carl.

But at the beginning of their story, the future seemed uncertain.

When Carl filed his patent application for his three-wheeled invention in 1886, he had visions of becoming a worldwide commercial success. The global public was enthusiastic about this latest technological feat, but was skeptical about the vehicle’s reliability. The idea that the vehicle would catch on seemed like a distant dream. This is when our steadfast heroine stepped in again.

Bertha was determined to prove to her husband, and the world, that the vehicle he had invented would become a success if it made international headlines.

On one August morning in 1888, Bertha, along with her two teenage sons, took the Benz Patent-Motorwagen out for a drive to her mother’s house, without telling her husband.

Drawing of the vehicle Bertha Benz drove on her journey. Black and white drawing of tricycle-looking car.

A drawing of the vehicle Bertha Benz drove on her journey.

After pushing the car far enough away from their house so it was out of her husband’s earshot, the trio set off on their 66 mile trip. Until this historic trip, motorized vehicles were only driven for very short trials.

They say necessity is the mother of invention and during this trip, that phrase rang true. The Benz clan encountered several problems during their day-long trip, including a blocked fuel line, a broken chain, and failing wooden brakes. With Bertha’s ingenuity, she was able to clean the fuel line with her hat pin, find a blacksmith to fix the broken chain, and had a cobbler create the world’s first pair of brake pads.


Bertha and her sons reached her mother’s house at dusk. She notified her husband of her successful journey by telegram.

The event generated publicity around the world, just as Bertha had hoped. She paved the way for the future of automobiles by taking the first road trip. Because of the journey, the automobile gained the recognition it needed to have a successful commercial launch. Her tenacity proved to be the push her husband’s invention needed.

Take a moment to watch this video of the event from Mercedes-Benz. We loved it.

Finding inspiration in history

We’ve come a long way from those days, but we remain inspired by Bertha’s determination to share a revolutionary product with the world.

That’s what we’re trying to accomplish at FunnelAI. If you haven’t heard the news yet, we were just named Innovator of the Year by DevNetwork. We’re extremely proud of the work we do and are honored to be recognized for our true artificial intelligence solution.

The sales funnel can be difficult to navigate. We seek to solve complex problems with our customer-acquisition platform. Finding purchase-ready customers and re-engaging existing customers can cause friction in the car-buying process, but we make it easy. FunnelAI gives companies the power to have human-to-human connections that generate sales and drive growth.

Like Bertha Benz, we share a deep desire and passion to build something purposeful with powerful tools. We’re currently serving the automotive industry with our AI for sales.

Through machine learning and natural language processing, we’re able to sift through 200 million public social media posts everyday. That means your sales and marketing teams have more time to nurture quality leads.

Here’s what we mean:

Our technology only gives you purchase-ready customers. You’re not going to see people who are likely to purchase your product or service. Instead, you’re going to see potential customers who actually need what your business provides.

It’s a simple solution for a complex problem that involves all aspects of the marketing funnel. If you would like to learn more about funnel automation, sign up for a demo by clicking here.

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