Automotive Fun Fact: Drug Store Gas

November 10, 2011

Ever wonder who invented the gas station?

Bertha Benz
Bertha Benz. She refueled at a pharmacy after stealing her husband’s vehicle to prove its reliability.

Prior to the modern day gas station, drivers used to purchase gasoline from local pharmacies and drug stores – the same place they purchased kerosene to light their lamps at home.

So, to whom do we owe our appreciation for this invaluable invention? Bertha Benz! Bertha was the wife of Karl Benz, inventor of one of the world’s first engine automobiles, who took off in her husband’s three-wheeled vehicle with her two children (without her husband’s knowledge) to the German countryside as a publicity stunt. When she ran out of fuel, she stopped at a pharmacy in Wiesloch, Germany to fill’er up. She proved to her husband and the automobile’s critics that the invention was safe and reliable. Without Bertha’s courage to test the vehicle the automotive industry might not look the same today.

And yes, Karl Benz later joined two other automobile businessmen to create the luxury motor vehicle company, Mercedes Benz. Visit this site for more history on Bertha and the Benz!

The modern gas station arrived in the United States in the 1920s. Stay tuned to more Rad Air Automotive Fun Facts for more information on gas stations!

What do you think of this week’s automotive fun fact? Have an automotive question? Leave us a comment below or send us an e-mail!