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The triumphant advance of the petrol stations

Automobile construction in Germany is closely related to the inventor Carl Benz, who filed a patent for the first car with a combustion engine in 1885. Three years later, on August 5, 1888, his wife Bertha Benz bought the entire supply of ligroin (benzine) from the local pharmacy in Wiesloch in order to continue her journey towards Pforzheim. Even today, a monument on site commemorates this historic moment for petrol stations.

According to traditional press reports, a change from the horse-drawn carriage to the automobile was evident on this overland trip of 106 kilometers from Mannheim to Pforzheim. Because the tank of the prototype was designed to be very small for such long distances, Bertha Benz ensured that the world's first gas station was built in Wiesloch, Baden-Württemberg.

All of the special, individual successors to this pharmacy have been memorialized by a book of pictures and texts from Gestalten Verlag with the title “Beautiful refueling - gas stations and your stories”. In the meantime, the petrol station has become the symbol of mobile freedom around the world. The uniform, functionally designed gas station chains were of course left standing on the roadside. It is the private companies that have created amazing, original and remarkable dispensing systems along the way. This book gives an insight into the world and cultural history of the special petrol stations, which were created with their own character and charm. A look back at a culture that in a few decades will itself be part of history.

Covverbild @ Schöner Tanken, Gestalten 2018.
Covverbild @ Schöner Tanken, Gestalten 2018.

About the book

A place that stands for freedom, travel and change like no other: Schöne Tanken tells the exciting story of the petrol station in impressive pictures.

While the first gasoline was still sold in pharmacies, the car celebrated its big breakthrough in the 1950s and was affordable for the masses. With its increasing popularity, gas stations also shot up like mushrooms. They were staged as a modern temple of mobility, designed by architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Arne Jacobsen.

From the new European freedom to the golden age in the USA to the petrol stations of the present - Schöner Tanken embarks on a cultural and historical journey around the world and explores the amazingly diverse world of petrol stations, which are often much more about cultural and economic identity betrayed a country than expected. Whether a functional high-tech temple, transit zone, abandoned ruin or converted residential building, with Schöner Tanken we discover the world of gas pumps, which is full of surprises and curiosities.

With a foreword by Jay Leno, American talk show legend and passionate car fan and collector.

Sascha Friesike works as an assistant professor for digital innovation at the VU University in Amsterdam and is also an associated researcher at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in Berlin. When he's not doing research, he writes the crime series Grobmann and Pieper or photographs gas stations.

Nice refueling
Gas stations and their stories

Editor: Gestalten & Sascha Friesike
Foreword: Jay Leno
Features: Full color, hardcover, thread-bound, 240 pages
Format: 21 26 cm x
Price: € 39,90 (D)
ISBN: 978-3-89955-677-3


Article from the green car magazine

Images: @ Schöner Tanken, Gestalten 2018 and green car magazine

N. Hawthorn
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