Legends

SIEGFRIED MARCUS  - THE ECCENTRIC GENIUS...

Even the 1946 edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica spells his name wrong. It called him Narkus. His works hardly were recognized and most of them went unnoticed. His expertise spread in chemistry, electricity and dentistry. A genius, excited scientist and a frenzy engineer with tons of excitement bubbling within all the time, who at times loved pulling his tooth for the sake of curiosity. He worked furiously in different fields. An erratic engineer who seldom finished his projects once he was convinced they could work. He was a restless dabbler who often struggled to achieve new breakthroughs and experiment new ideas. Siegfried Marcus was born in 1831, in Malchin, Germany. At the age of 12 he was apprenticed to a machinist and at the age of 17 joined Siemens and Halske firm, where he invented an electric relay system for telegraphy. He worked with Siemens and Halske till he was 20. At the age of 20 he left Siemens and later moved to Vienna where he worked for a court mechanic. In 1860 he rented a few rooms in Mariahilferstrasse, Vienna and set up his own engineering laboratory where he worked on his projects. He was fascinated by electric lighting and experimented with ignited benzene vapor to make beautiful light. There was no beautiful light but a mighty explosion that gave him another idea of burning benzene vapor in the cylinder that might make an engine run. He designed a 2-stroke engine and installed it in a handcart. This 'vehicle' had no clutch and the rear wheels had to be held by hand while cranking the engine and later dropped down so that it can move. Well it did move, though the cart never had clutch and brakes. Once satisfied that his idea can work, he abandoned it. Well what sense does it make to import benzene at 3 marks a liter from Germany just to run a cart.

Later Marcus turned to other projects and even prospered a little. During this time he tutored the Austrian Crown prince in science and also installed an electric bell in the palace.In 1874, 9 years after his last tenure with self propelled carts, he turned his attention to motorcars again. This time he built 3 cars. One by himself in his shop and the other two under his direction. The car was single cylinder, 4 stroke and 1570 cc of volume developing 3/4hp, which could be driven at 4 miles an hour. The chassis was wooden, semi elliptic springs, a steering wheel, iron tires and a steel cone clutch with single speed transmission.

Marcus called it Strassenwagen. Anyone, but Marcus would have gone ahead with the new invention to build more such cars. But Marcus who was already bored with the car showed little interest to continue with the project. Now he wanted to move on to better and more exciting gadgets.

The Royal Academy Of Sciences recognized him, though grudgingly and the Viennese put up his statue in 1924.The Technisches Museum exhibited his car and even had a booklet available about the inventor. Though Marcus drifted from the idea of the motorcar, Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz nourished the idea, which from them grew the giant motor industry of the day.  

         

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