The Birth of an Automotive Pioneer

September 18, 1831

Automotive pioneer Siegfried Samuel Marcus was born in the town of Malchin in the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, which is now part of the Federal Republic of Germany. By the mid-1850s, Marcus had moved to Vienna and worked in that city as a manufacturer of scientific instruments until his death in 1898. (Vienna was the capital of the Austrian Empire between 1804 and 1867 and the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1867 to 1918.)

The First Marcus Car

Marcus developed a strong expertise in electricity and used that knowledge to come up with numerous inventions, including an electric lamp and an igniter for explosives. He also built what is widely regarded as the first vehicle propelled by means of gasoline. This happened sometime around 1870 when he placed an internal combustion engine on a handcart – a vehicle widely known today as the “First Marcus Car.” Marcus had been working on that type of vehicle since at least 1860.

Marcus went on to develop a few other gasoline-powered vehicles, notably the “Second Marcus Car” that was introduced in the late 1880s and proved to be even more innovative in terms of its design and features. During his career, Marcus obtained more than 75 patents in at least a dozen countries for various inventions. He never held a patent, however, for any of the history-making motorcars that he built.

For more information on Siegfried Samuel Marcus, please check out https://www.britannica.com/biography/Siegfried-Marcus

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