In the summer of 1888 Bertha Benz, accompanied by her two teenage sons, was the first person to drive an automobile any significant distance. As a publicity stunt she drove her husband's experimental, three wheeled, benzene fueled, internal combustion powered, Benz Patent Motor Car Model III to visit her parents. The all day road trip took them 106 kilometres from the workshop in Mannheim to her families home in Pforzheim. And then a few days later back again by a different route so as to expose the automobile to as many people as possible. Along the way she filled up at apothecaries; the first of which bills itself as the world's first filling station and is still doing business today as a pharmacy.
The Evolution of the Petrol/Gas/Filling/Service Station Gas stations might be boring or even ugly places, but for the most part, you can’t avoid stopping by one on a long trip. However, they have been so many more beyond the basic design of columns, roof and shop over their history. The following 60+1 filling stations encompass almost a century of architectural progression, showcasing some of the best Art Deco, Bauhaus, futurist, brutalist, minimalist, modernist, Googie building designs of the motorist history. Enjoy the ride!
Hungarian inventions that have shaped the modern world: Laszlo Biro's ballpoint pen, the telephone exchange and holography, and the Magyar microcar, "how Hungary circumvented Stalin and also had a bit of fun." This is just one of a number of weirdly awesome microcars of Hungary from the 1940s and '50s.
In the history of roads, pedestrians have long been the dominant user class. In the early 20th century, the use of automobiles was increasing, and with it, the conflicts between cars and people on foot. This conflict came to a head in 1923 in Cincinnati, when people were outraged about the number of children killed by autos, and a there was a petition that "would have required all vehicles in the city to be fitted with speed governors limiting them to 25 miles per hour." In response, the young automotive companies organized and started a move to give dominance to cars in the streets. The petition failed, and pedestrians had lost. This was a key moment, marked with the invention of jaywalking. [more inside]
The Stop Sign Wasn’t Always Red. Yellow signs were used before there was a way produce a reflective material in red that would last. We have the Mississippi Valley Association of State Highway Departments to thank for the stop sign’s iconic shape. In 1923, the association developed an influential set of recommendations about street-sign shapes whose impact is still felt today. The recommendations were based on a simple, albeit not exactly intuitive, idea: the more sides a sign has, the higher the danger level it invokes. [more inside]
The first 50 years of Fiat advertising images. Fiat has been a pioneer in the development and management of its corporate image through advertising. Famous artists as Dudovich, Codognato, Casorati and De Chirico have created beautiful posters and designs for this Italian giant of which 100 from the 1899 to 1950 period have been selected for their online historial archive. The oldest being this fantastic “Fabbrica Italiana Di Automobili” poster from 1899.
History lesson time. With all the Amazon patent hubbub, I thought it'd be nice to remind people that the same thing happened in the beginning of the automobile industry. (6th paragraph) Let's hope history repeats itself again, and a few large corporations are put in cha . . oh wait.