Early on, Carl Benz had begun to test-drive his automobiles himself. His trips took him more and more often to the small romantic town of Ladenburg.
In 1898 Carl Benz bought farmland there, plot number 4069. To this purchase, through 1899 he added ten further properties in the same district. This made Benz the owner of a sizable piece of land between Ilvesheimer Strasse and Waldstadter Strasse and between the railway embankment and the canal bridge.
In 1905 the wife of Heidelberg brewery owner Christian Friedrich Leonhard sold her real estate in Ladenburg to Bertha Benz. The entire property including dwelling house and outbuildings passed into the hands of the Benz Family.
In 1906 Carl Benz founded "Carl Benz Söhne" in Ladenburg, with himself and his son Eugen as the registered owners. The original intention was to produce naturally aspirated gas engines there, but in those fast-moving times they could hardly find buyers anymore. So they again concentrated on motor vehicles.
"Carl Benz Söhne" car
It took only a little less than two years to create all the design-related prerequisites for the first "Carl Benz Söhne" car to be built in Ladenburg. Around 350 vehicles of the Carl Benz Söhne brand were produced through 1923. The family had meanwhile moved its residence to Ladenburg as well. In 1912 Karl Benz left the company and placed its management in the hands of his sons Eugen and Richard. The company continued to expand and opened up new sales channels, e.g. exporting to England, where the vehicles were often used as taxis, being very popular by virtue of their reliability.
Carl Benz House
In the large park of his house, which is an original part of the property, Carl Benz had a garage built in the style of an old fortified tower. In 1921 a veranda with a flat roof was built on; a few years later the south side of the house got an extension across the entire gable wall.
In this house Carl Benz accepted the honours that were bestowed on him as automotive pioneer. Members of the Benz Family lived in this house until the year 1968. In 1969 it passed into the hands of the town of Ladenburg. It temporarily served as a restaurant and club house. In 1985 the house was acquired by Daimler-Benz and thoroughly refurbished.
The Benz House serves today as an exhibition documenting the lifework of Carl Benz, which is marked by numerous automotive milestones. Exhibits, documents, personal memorabilia and models from his working life reflect the passion of a man who to the very end remained true to his personal motto: "Inventing is much more agreeable than having already invented."
The Karl-Benz house is also the registered office of the Daimler and Benz Foundation. The foundation was created in 1986 by Daimler-Benz AG (present Daimler AG). It contributes to the future development of society through the provision of scientific findings. In doing so it views itself as promoter of the knowledge society and strives to enhance the reputation of research in public opinion.
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