A full-size replica of the original Siegfried Marcus two-stroke gasoline engine of 1870,
Lot 246
A full-size replica of the original Siegfried Marcus two-stroke gasoline engine of 1870,
£10,000 - 12,000
US$ 16,000 - 20,000

Lot Details
Marcus engine
A full-size replica of the original Siegfried Marcus two-stroke gasoline engine of 1870,
the first engine of it’s kind, complete with high tension ignition. Constructed using copies of its inventor’s original sketches and plans supplied by the Vienna Technical Museum as well as the only surviving image of the engine. It was built between 1995 and 1997 under the auspices of the part-time Vocational School for Automotive Technology in Vienna using the workshops of the Austrian federal courses in Vienna-Floridsdorf. Offered with a bust of Marcus (using his original death mask) by the artist Franz Gawlik.

Footnotes

  • Siegfried Marcus (1831-1898) was one of the pioneering inventors of the automobile, ranking alongside Messrs Otto, Daimler, Maybach and Benz. Born in Malchin, Mecklenburg, Germany, Marcus studied mechanical engineering and moved in 1852 to the Austrian capital, Vienna where his main business was the manufacture of telegraphic and other electrical apparatus.

    Marcus’s major contribution to the automobile’s development was the recognition of gasoline (petroleum spirit) as a viable fuel for an internal combustion engine. Examples of the latter already existed in industrial applications, powered by mains gas, though this method of supply made gas a totally impractical source of fuel for an automobile. Hitherto, gasoline had been a relatively insignificant by-product of the refining of oil for lighting purposes; it was known as ‘benzine’ and used for cleaning clothes. Marcus, who also held patents for a carburettor (1856) and a high-tension magneto (1883), recognised gasoline’s potential as a fuel in its own right and fitted one of his engines into a prototype automobile around 1870. Little better than a handcart, this was a somewhat crude device even by the standards of the day, lacking brakes, steering gear and even a seat for the driver! There was no transmission, the engine being connected directly to the rear wheels, which functioned as giant flywheels. Nevertheless, Marcus’s was the world’s first gasoline-powered vehicle.

    Built by the Märky, Bromovsky & Shultz company in Moravia, Marcus’s second automobile of 1889 was a much more practical affair, possessing all the features his first had lacked, including the patented magneto. It is still in existence today, alongside a modern replica, in the Vienna Technical Museum. The fact that Siegfried Marcus is not better known today is partly the result of the Nazis ‘air-brushing’ him from the history books and encyclopaedias because of his Jewish origins. Prior to 1940, when the Third Reich’s Propaganda Ministry ordered that his name be expunged, it was Siegfried Marcus, and not Messrs Daimler and Benz, who was credited with fathering the modern automobile. (It is interesting to note that in pre-war Bosch instruction manuals, Siegfried Marcus and not Robert Bosch was stated to be the magneto’s inventor).
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