Friday 4th September 1891
Born on this day, Fritz Todt, head designer of the German autobahn, whose creation was the first true system of national superhighways, and was held up by Germany as a proud symbol of the modernity of their engineering. However, the autobahn system emerged from World War II as a battered version of its earlier self. The newly formed nations of East and West Germany set about repairing the old system, though at different rates. Booming increases in motor traffic propelled extensions and enhancements in West Germany, while improvements were more gradual in East Germany. Over the years, the autobahn regained its status as a model expressway and became famous for its nonexistent speed limit.