Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,101 pages of information and 233,633 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
1881 Benz and Co was founded in Mannheim, Germany
1885 Karl Benz's early tricycle was difficult to control, leading to a collision with a wall during a public demonstration.
1886 Karl Benz patented the Motorwagen on January 29, 1886 as DRP-37435: "automobile fuelled by gas". The first successful tests on public roads were carried out in the early summer of 1886.
The next year Benz created the Motorwagen Model 2 which had several modifications
1887 the definitive Model 3 with wooden wheels was introduced, and was shown at the Paris Expo the same year.
Benz began to sell the vehicle (advertising it as the Benz Patent Motorwagen) in the late summer of 1888, making it the first commercially available automobile in history. The second customer of the Motorwagen was a Parisian bicycle manufacturer Emile Roger who had already been building Benz engines under licence for several years. Roger added the Benz automobiles (many built in France) to the products he carried in Paris and initially most were sold there.
The early-1888 version of the Motorwagen had no gears and could not climb hills unaided.
Karl Benz decided to enlarge the factory in Mannheim, and in 1886 a new building located on Waldhofstrasse (operating until 1908) was added. Benz & Cie. had grown in the interim from 50 employees in 1889 to 430 in 1899.
1893 Karl Benz created the Victoria, a two-passenger automobile with a 3-hp engine, which could reach the top speed of 11 mph and had a pivotal front axle operated by a roller-chained tiller for steering. The model was successful with 85 units sold in 1893.
1894 Benz improved this design in his new Velo model. 1,200 units in total were produced from 1894 to 1901. The Benz Velo participated in the first automobile race, the 1894 Paris to Rouen Rally.
1896 Karl Benz was granted a patent for his design of the first flat engine with horizontally opposed pistons.
1899 Benz and Co. was made into a limited liability company
During the last years of the nineteenth century, Benz was the largest automobile company in the world with 572 units produced in 1899.
1899 UK agent is Hewetsons
1903 Karl Benz announced his retirement from design management on January 24, 1903, although he remained as director on the Board of Management through its merger with DMG in 1926 and, remained on the board of the new Daimler-Benz corporation until his death in 1929.
Benz's sons Eugen and Richard left Benz & Cie. in 1903, but Richard returned to the company in 1904 as the designer of passenger vehicles.
1904 Sales of Benz & Cie. reached 3,480 automobiles, and the company remained the leading manufacturer of automobiles.
1905 Produced 18, 28, 40 and 60 h.p. models. The 18 and 28 h.p models are available in chain and shaft drive. The other two as chain-drive only. The UK agents are the Cannstatt Automobile Supply Association. 
1909 Benz & Cie. submitted an application to have the "Benz" lettering surrounded by a laurel wreath registered as a trademark to the Imperial (German) Patent Office.
1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices see the 1917 Red Book