The first series-produced Bosch Starter, 1914

The first series-produced Bosch Starter, 1914

 

In the early years of the automobile, every journey began with a strenuous effort: the vehicle had to be cranked up. Below the radiator at the front there was a pin connected to the crankshaft. The driver connected a strong steel crank with a wooden grip to this and turned it. After several vigorous rotations and with a bit of luck, the engine sprang into life. However, cranking an engine could be a dangerous business. Motorists were sometimes badly injured when the engine failed to start and instead rotated in reverse, causing the crank to kick back and strike the driver.

Caption: Test drive with a Bosch automotive lighting system and starter, 1913

Caption: Test drive with a Bosch automotive lighting system and starter, 1913

As a result, electric starters made things a lot easier and proved to be an innovation with a very bright future. In the United States, vehicles had been fitted with electric starters since 1910. At Bosch, chief engineer Gottlob Honold worked on designing a starter from 1912 to 1913. In March 1914, mass production of Bosch’s electric starter finally began. Rather than cranking up out in the open, drivers now simply needed to give the foot pedal a hearty push inside the vehicle. The second generation offered the even more convenient option of pressing a button on the dashboard.

And what about the future? To find out more about comfortable, safe driving, click here.

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