- Category : Engineer-Mechanical
- Type : PE
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (22,35,54)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Eden 3
Austrian inventor who built four of the world’s earliest gasoline-powered automobiles.
As a teenager he studied at a technical school in Berlin, whilst also working for the engineering firm Siemens and Halske. They were busy erecting Europe’s first long-distance telegraph line, and Marcus designed a telegraph relay system for them. It was the first of many important inventions.
In 1852, Marcus moved to Vienna, where from 1856 until his death in 1898 he worked as a self-employed inventor. So productive was he during this period that he logged 158 patents and applied for 38 imperial charters.
An enormously versatile man, Marcus’s inventions included the incandescent spirit lamp, electromechanical triggers for naval mines (to protect the harbor of Trieste), the ‘Artigraph’ (used by lithographers and copper plate engravers to reverse their designs for printing) and a special whale-hunting knife used by the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition of 1872. Empress Elisabeth hired him to install an electric bell system in the Hofburg.
In 1870 Marcus attached a petroleum two-stroke engine to a conventional wooden handcart; pedestrians were amazed as it trundled along Mariahilferstrasse. Although the vehicle no longer exists, documents and photographs confirm the early date. It was the world’s first mobile internal combustion engine. Marcus also invented the mechanism required to ignite the engine’s mixture of liquid fuel and air. An 1883 patent taken out for his Wiener Zünder ignition device makes mention of “carburating air”, thus giving rise to the modern word carburettor
Following Hitler’s annexation of Austria in 1938, most of Marcus’s papers were destroyed by the Nazis, who were unable to accept that a Jew had made such an important discovery. As a result the legacy of Siegfried Marcus was all but expunged.
Fortunately, a second prototype vehicle dating from 1888 had been preserved in Vienna’s Technical Museum, where it was hastily concealed in the cellar.
He died 30 June 1898.