It is said that Carl Benz was the world’s first commercial automobile manufacturer. His first effort, the Benz Patent Motor Wagon was released and offered for sale as early as 1888. At the time, this newfangled technology befuddled many of its operators, and it was soon decided that some sort of instruction manual needed to be produced to assist with their operation. Before you is an extraordinarily rare publication that was devised to suit this purpose.
Product sales literature is the pride of our library. In many instances the automobile maker had no other way to explain and illustrates the benefits of his vehicles, particularly before the era of mass media. As such, sales brochures are considered the “official” description of the car, with illustrations, specifications, and the information one might need to make a purchase decision. We believe this brochure might be the first one ever created.
Harry John Lawson was a British entrepreneur who sought to create an early monopoly on petrol-driven cars through the acquisition of multiple patents. His end goal never included vehicle production, rather he aimed to exploit the patents he purchased by charging royalties to manufacturers that produced vehicles from the patents he owned.
We recently unearthed these incredibly rare photographs in our library, depicting a Renault, in the mid-1920's, seemingly doing the impossible, navigating the streets of Paris, without an operator at the wheel.
Based on our research, we think this might be the oldest surviving automotive oil can in the world. We believe that this very clear image is that of an 1897 DeDion Bouton. The clarity is remarkable, especially when you consider that this particular object will most likely be 125 years old next year. Dr. Simeone tells the story.