First to Invent Automobile

TNT, Fred Flintstone, & Nazis


Siegfried Marcus, inventor of the automobile, and the TNT thing.   

In the iconic Road Runner cartoon series, the character known as Wile E. Coyote often uses TNT in an attempt to kill his prey. The explosives are detonated by a T-shaped plunger that is pushed down to set off the blast. In the cartoon, this process rarely goes as planned, often causing significant, but temporary, injury to Mr. Coyote.

In the non-cartoon version, this indispensable blasting device rarely fails. The man who invented it made a considerable profit. His name was Siegfried Marcus.
In the 1860s, Marcus used this newfound wealth to invent the first gasoline-powered automobile. But experts are not sure of the exact date. That’s because Marcus was a German Jew; and when the Nazis took over Germany, they actively worked to erase him from history. The Nazi propaganda machine claimed it was Karl Benz and Gottleib Daimler who invented the automobile.

Today, historians agree that Marcus pre-dated Benz and Daimler by at least a decade. However, it should be noted that Marcus’ first prototypes had a rather unusual “starter.” A strong assistant would lift up the back of the vehicle and spin the wheels to start the engine. Once running, the vehicle would be lowered to the ground. Readers will recognize this process is similar to the technique used by cartoon character Fred Flintstone. However, this is purely coincidence. Mr. Marcus could not have borrowed this idea from Mr. Flintsone, because the Flintstone films were created in the 1960s and do not represent actual stone-age practices.  

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