Vienna (Sep. 23)
Arrangements are being made here to celebrate on a large scale the centenary of the birth of Siegfried Marcus, who produced the first motor car in his works in Vienna 67 years ago.
A committee of prominent personages has been formed with a view to setting up a monument to Marcus.
A celebration gathering has been held here this week attended by representatives of the Government, the Vienna City Council, the Chambers of Industry and Commerce, the Vienna Police authorities, the Vienna Automobile Association and the Federations of Engineers and Architects. A deputation from the gathering afterwards proceeded to the Jewish cemetery here, where wreaths were placed on his grave.
Siegfried Marcus was born at Malchin, in Mecklenburg, Germany, on September 18th., 1831, and he died in Vienna in 1898. He came to Vienna as a boy, working as an engineer, and in 1860 he established an engineering shop in Vienna on his own account.
Among his other inventions are the thermos flask, for which he was awarded a Gold Medal, the first successful seismograph, various devices for measuring and regulating heat on gas and oil motors, the first electric fuse that could be used for submarine mining and several torpedo casting devices that were adopted by the Austrian navy.
It was in 1864 that he produced the first model of the motor car, and his second improved model, which was driven by petrol, was produced in 1875, and is still on exhibit in the Vienna Technical Museum.
This model already provided in all essentials the technical basis of the present-day motor-car. All the changes that have been made since are in the direction of speed improvements and body outline, but the principles have remained unchanged.
Marcus was a man of restless disposition, turning from one enterprise in engineering to another, and while he proved to be fertile and ingenious, he did not have enough practical foresight to protect his invention. While showing his models at the Vienna Exhibition and elsewhere, he neglected to patent his machine even in Germany until 1882, and meanwhile others were working on his design.
In German and Austrian reference and technical and scientific works he is, however, honoured as the inventor of the first motor car, and many years ago, the Vienna city authorities placed a memorial slab commemorating the fact on the front of the house where he lived.