I got an email last week from a German artist who lives in south Florida named Ulli Kampelmann, she’s done some artistic display work for the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart and is currently producing a documentary film about the birth of the automobile. She found the Dave Knows Cars blog and sent me some information about a project she and her team are currently working on, it’s quite interesting. Imagine, having free reign of the Mercedes-Benz historical archives in Stuttgart!
This documentary film centers around, what is thought to be, the first ever long distance ‘road trip’ in an automobile. Interestingly enough, it was Carl Benz’s wife, Bertha Benz who took this journey in the automobile, “setting the stage for the universal acceptance and popularity of her husband’s invention.” according to the Mercedes-Benz historic archives.
Ulli became interested in this little known story when she was in Stuttgart, Germany doing research, looking for ideas to incorporate into the displays she had been contracted to design and build for the Mercedes-Benz Museum. While exploring the Mercedes-Benz historic archives she came across this story of Bertha Benz and the first long distance automobile trip. She made a large display to tell the story in the museum and thought it would be a good subject for a documentary film.
This film “Carl & Bertha Benz – The Car is Born” is currently in production and just in time for the 125th anniversary of the invention of the automobile on the 29th of January 2011. You can learn all about Ulli, the film, you can even watch a video regarding the inspiration for it at their website: www.thecarisborn.com
Making films, even documentary films, is not an inexpensive endeavor. In an effort to raise funds Ulli designed a very nice “limited edition commemorative wall calendar marking the birth of the automobile to honor Carl & Bertha Benz available for sale on the “The Car is Born” website. This calendar would be a nice gift for any Mercedes-Benz enthusiast to be sure. Visit the Limited-Edition calendar page here to have a look.
Pasted below is an excerpt from Ulli’s website explaining a bit about about one of the display pieces she designed for the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart. It is a sculpture explaining the story of Bertha Benz and her first long distance auto journey and how this story inspired Ulli to organize the production of a documentary film to tell the story.
(from the website www.thecarisborn.com):
How I found this story:
I was commissioned by Mercedes Benz in Stuttgart to create artworks for their showrooms. In order
to acquire ideas upon which to base my artworks, I asked for and received permission to research
through the historical documents in the corporate archives. There, I found this nearly-forgotten but thoroughly charming story from the dawn of the automobile.
This is a model of the sculpture I created. The story is screen printed onto two thick sheets of glass, each six feet wide by twelve feet high. Attached are five colored square sheets of glass etched with images from the five primary stops Bertha made on her voyage. The eighteen
foot tall slender rod with the heavy chunk of glass represents a hat-pin. – Ulli Kampelmann