Cars – early Jewish inventors

carWho founded the age of the automobile?  There are those who claim that  the father of the first car was a Jew.  They say the facts were concealed as  part of a conspiracy dating back to the  Nazi era. Germany’s wholesale  destruction of evidence will probably  leave this issue shrouded in eternal  mystery. It is unlikely that the truth will  ever emerge.

The question of “Who invented the  car?” is intimately bound up with a second  question – what is your definition  of a car? If you include any self-moving  machinery, pride of place goes to  the French military engineer, Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, who built the first  steam automobile in 5529/1769. His  clumsy contraption ran along at the  stately pace of 2½ mph and had neither  gears nor brakes. Therefore, Cugnot is  also credited with the first automobile  accident because during the second  demonstration of his brainchild, the  lumbering vehicle could not be brought  to a stop and demolished a wall.  Cugnot’s idea caught on and steam  carriages became a popular fixture in  England beginning in 5561/1801.  They were popular enough to threaten  stagecoach companies which used  political leverage to strangle the steam  carriages’ development by imposing  heavy tariffs that effectively put them  out of business.

Steam cars became highly popular in  America. In 5660/1900, 1.170 out of  2,300 cars registered in various American  cities were run by steam. 800 were  run by electric and only 400 by gasoline.  However, Cugnot is not reckoned as  father of the automobile since nowadays  the word generally connotes a  vehicle running with an internal combustion  engine. That is, an engine that  burns its propellant as opposed to a  steam engine where the propellant  (steam) is heated by a secondary  source (fire). The first such engine,  designed by the Dutch physicist Christian  Huygens in 5440/1680, was  intended to be fueled with gunpowder.  According to this definition of a car,  the inventor of the automobile is the  Belgian Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir.  He invented an internal combustion  engine powered by coal gas, mounted  it on a three-wheeled wagon, and set  off on a fifty-mile jaunt in 5622/1862.  However, he is cast out of the hall of  fame because “the powers that be” prefer  to define the first car as one driven  by liquid fuel.

The Jews lay  their claim to  fame through two  co-religionists,  the inventor of  gasoline, Abraham  Schreiner  ( 5 5 7 0 / 1 8 1 0 –  5630/1870) of  Galicia, and the  inventor of the  early car,  Siegfried Marcus.  Oil was once so  plentiful in  Schreiner’s Drohobitch  district of  Galicia that all  one had to do to  mine crude oil  was to dig a simple  pit and the oil  seeped in by  itself. There was  not much use for  it. Some of the foul-smelling grease  had been used for street lighting since  5260/1500. The black viscous substance  was also used for lubrication,  leather working and quack medicines.  Schreiner began by producing candles  from crude oil. When he tried his  hand splitting the crude oil into its elements  in a pot on his stove, he almost  blew himself to pieces in the process.  Schreiner eventually managed to  extract gasoline from oil. He became  impoverished after his workshop burnt  down and Americans started producing  gasoline for a cheaper price. He spent  the last years of his life in the timehonored  Jewish profession of selling  liquor to peasants.

Car constructor Marcus was born in  Malchin, Germany in 5591/1831 and  moved to Austria at the age of 21. A  prolific inventor, he licensed 131  patents in 16 countries.

His car invention was a by-product  of an attempt to create light by igniting  a mixture of gasoline and air. Realizing  that the resulting explosive effect could  be harnessed to fuel a car, he produced  a primitive carburetor and built his first  prototype car in 5624/1864. It bumped  along for 200 yards. Known as the  “First Marcus Car,” it was started up by  a strong person lifting up the back and  giving the rear wheels a hefty spin.  This automobile is acknowledged as  the first car ever to be powered by liquid  gasoline. However, it is regarded as  too primitive to count as the prototype  of the modern steeds of the road.  Marcus then improved his car and  came out with the “Second Marcus  Car” which could qualify as being the  first car ever built. Most historians  agree that there is no concrete evidence  that it was built before 5648/1888, and  their opinion is generally accepted.

Those who claim that Marcus built  the first car blame the scarcity of evidence  on Nazi Germany’s policy of trying  to eradicate all evidence that science  was advanced by anyone except  members of the Aryan race. An example  of this kind of activity is recorded  in the following German regulation of  December 28, 5698/1938:

“Minister President General Field  Marshal Goering, Commissioner for  the Four-Year Plan.  “SECRET.  “Pursuant to my report, the Fuehrer  has made the following decisions on  the Jewish question…. An immediate  concern is the aryanization of plants  and business enterprises, farm property,  forests, etc… Jewish patents are  property values and therefore to be  aryanized, too…  “Signed: GOERING.”

The process is also mentioned in a  German publication (“Du bist sofort im  Bilde”) a year later which describes  how Germany was dealing with “the  Jewish problem.”

“Jews are prohibited from owning  shops, mail order firms or branches,  and independent craft firms. They are  further prohibited from offering goods  or business services at markets, exhibitions  or trade fairs of any kind…  Important patents and commercial  secrets must be transferred to non-Jewish  control.”

Following the enactment of this policy,  after the German Anschluss  (annexation) of Austria, the Germans  combed through patent office files,  destroying records of Jewish inventors.  Physical evidence of Jewish genius,  too, was eradicated. They removed a  monument erected in Marcus’ memory  in front of the Vienna Technical University.

They even planned to destroy  the “Second Marcus Car” that had been  lovingly preserved, in working condition,  in the Vienna Museum of Trade  and Industry. The car was saved at the  eleventh hour by unidentified museum  personnel who concealed it by erecting  a brick wall.

Marcus was rehabilitated through  official recognition after the war, the  Viennese mayor replaced his monument  in 5709/1949 and a year later his  refurbished car was driven triumphantly  through the city’s streets at a stately  5 mph. There was even a Siegfried  Marcus Society founded in Austria in  5758/1998 which has the lofty goal “to  provide a public rectification of the  long-enduring injustice done to the  ingenious creator and inventor of the  automobile, Siegfried Marcus.”

However, it is unlikely that the Society  will ever succeed. The evidence, if  it existed in the first place, seems to  have been lost forever.

Therefore the honor of building the  first cars goes to two Germans: Gottlieb  Daimler (assisted by Jewish  helper, Max Rose), who received a  patent in 5645/1885 for a prototype of  the modern gasoline engine and to Carl  Benz, who obtained a patent for the  first gasoline-fueled car in 5646/1886.

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