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The story of Cacerola, the dandy who loved irons: this is how the first car was patented in Argentina


Dalmiro Varela Castex was the founder of the ACA and also had the number 1 driver's license. The origin of his nickname and the fight with Mayor Anchorena.


Varela Castex

was called “Cacerola”, as if a cloud of smoke and steam preceded him.

The nickname, also his reputation, followed him until his death.

He, a classic porteño dandy, wore it with elegance: he knew it was proof of his pioneering character.

Because after all he was an advance in the introduction of automobiles in Argentina.

His was the first self-propelled vehicle in the country.

His was the number 1 patent. And his will be the number 1 driver's license forever

, although a mayor and a president have not wanted it that way.

He belonged to a traditional family.

His grandson was Florencio Varela, a writer and Unitarian politician who -because he was anti-Rosista- went into exile for years in Uruguay and Paris before dying from a cruel and treacherous knife in Montevideo.

As a good member of the aristocracy, Dalmiro lived with his parents Juan Cruz Varela Cané and Rita del Carmen Castex Alcaraz in a Palermo mansion, one of those buildings that greatly contributed to baptizing Buenos Aires as the "Paris of Latin America", with large rooms dance and effervescent cultural climate.

Dalmiro was also passionate about cars


It was love at first sight in the French capital, where he spent several months of the year.

The crush was stronger than his love for sculpture.

He elevated him to a unique character in the City of Buenos Aires.

He turned it into Cacerola,

owner of the car with the first patent in Argentina.

From the College to the steam, the story of Varela Castex before being Cacerola

He was born in Buenos Aires on Monday, May 4, 1863, during the presidency of Bartolomé Miter and shortly before the War of the Triple Alliance.

Since he was little, he was privileged,

with a home on Avenida del Libertador and Salguero


He continued to be so until the end: his remains rest in the distinguished Recoleta cemetery, surrounded by families of his lineage.

Dalmiro Varela Castex's Daimler.

(Photo File ACA)

In his early youth he studied at the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires, in the new stage that Miter himself inaugurated and that in his "Juvenilia" Miguel Cané described, with whom he was linked by a distant family tie.

The aristocracy was like that.

Then he went to Europe.

The Grand Tour, the trip to close the cycle of studies, was customary in certain circles.

For him, however, it was the beginning.

He settled there to study Mechanics.

Upon his return to Argentina, he deepened his dandy profile: without neglecting his origin, he was employed in the "September 11" workshops of the Western Railway.

But it was in one of his subsequent stays in Paris - even without the Eiffel Tower being inaugurated - that he lit the fire for those strange creatures that began to travel through the streets at ten kilometers per hour.

The Salguero y Libertador mansion of the Varela Castex family.

In 1887 he made his first commission to the French firm “De Dion, Bouton et Trépardoux”.

This tricycle, which moved by steam action and had been built to order,

was the first self-propelled vehicle in Argentina


He fought for that medal with the Holzman brand specimen that at that time Dr. Eleazar Herrera Motta brought from the United States to Chilecito, in La Rioja.

Point for Varela Castex.

Two months after the order, the ship docked and the order reached Customs.

Disbelief and disorientation prevailed in the reaction to that gigantic wooden box.

The owner had to argue with the agents to allow him to remove that jewel by steam.

That was not all: already in the gardens of his mansion, he had to renovate and adapt the track of the vehicle to the dimensions of the Buenos Aires streets.

When he achieved it, he became master of the city.

The smoke emanating from the boiler located in the back was erected in the unmistakable personal aura of him.

Hierve Cacerola: the first patent and the fight with the mayor of Buenos Aires

The dandy was at the speed of technological innovations, which in the fledgling automotive sector was then frantic.

In 1895 a Daimler model 1893 was brought from Germany


That year, in France, the Lumière brothers presented another passion under the title “Departure of the workers from the Lumière factory in Lyon Monplaisir”: the cinematograph.

On the other side of the sea, Latin American Paris was entering the motoring era.

Dalmiro Varela Castex became a representative of Locomobile.

The Daimler, which reached 35 km/h, still had some characteristics that -more than a century later- are striking: the steering was with a handlebar and the ignition was by incandescence.

It was followed by representatives of the main metropolises: a gasoline-powered Benz (Germany), a Ford (USA) and a Panhard (France), among others.

New creations required a new city.

There were changes in the surface of the roads, great reforms and openings of new streets and a new bureaucratic system.

Varela Castex had a fundamental role, even holding a position in the Deliberative Council.

Dalmiro Varela Castex and the first car from Argentina.

The first patent belonged to him


It functioned as a circulation permit and, only in its first months, did not imply a payment of taxes.

They were enamelled, expensive and fragile plates, with a number and coat of arms of the mayor with the legend "Dirección de Trailers Públicos".

This type of patent lasted until 1935. It left a varied repertoire, since the design depended on the year and the geographical place of issue.

And also bequeathed an explosive litigation.

On one side, the until then owner of 1. On the other, the Buenos Aires mayor Joaquín de Anchorena (1910-1914).

The communal chief ordered that the original patent go to the mayor.

"Not even the Holy Spirit will take it away from me!", boiled the one who clung to the initiation plate.

The highest national earthly power interceded, President Roque Sáenz Peña, who agreed with Anchorena.

painful defeat.

The first license delivered in Argentina, to Dalmiro Varela Castex.

Number 1 that Varela Castex did keep was the driver's license.

It was delivered to him on February 14, 1906. "Automobile driver" is the title of the notebook, which states age (42 years), nationality (Argentine), marital status (married), color (white) and address (avenida Alvear 1975).

He is accompanied by a frontal photographic portrait: the bushy mustache, a legionary cap (with fabrics that fall over the shoulders and the nape of the neck) and shirt, tie and overcoat against all dust.

Two years earlier, Cacerola had starred in another founding moment of Argentine motor racing: on June 11, 1904, together with other colorful lineage characters, he

created the Automóvil Club Argentino


The distinguished list was made up of Félix Álzaga Unzué, with his own mansion in Alvear y Posadas (where today is the luxurious Four Seasons hotel), José Pacheco Anchorena (military toughness, sculptor's delicacy), Alfredo Tornquist (banker and industrialist, with a mansion on the Rufino de Elizalde street, Palermo, today the Belgian embassy) and Antonio De Marchi (Italian by origin, with a family drugstore, introducer of tango in the highlands, precursor of aeronautics).

All of them belonged to the privileged class and still sleep in Recoleta today.

Some lived like dandies.

Only one, Dalmiro Varela Castex, was and will always be number 1.

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Source: clarin

All tech articles on 2023-01-29

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News/Politics 2023-03-29T06:13:10.280Z

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