The History of Mercedes

By: Kalin

The history of Mercedes-Benz or for short Mercedes (and sometimes even "Benz" or "Merc") is quite interesting. Mercedes is a German company founded in 1871. In the beginning there were three people - Gottlieb Daimler together with Wilhelm Maybach and Karl Benz. Karl Benz and the other two were able to invent the automobile with internal combustion independently from each other. It is very interesting however that they were only sixty miles apart from each other in that time.
Karl Benz was working in Mannheim. He had a shop there which was the place where he invented the first real automobile driven by internal combustion. The year was 1885 and in the next year Karl Benz was granted a patent for his new creation.
The automobile was called "Benz Patent Motorwagen" and it had three wheels and the design reminds of a carriage hauled by horses perhaps because the main design model was taken from a carriage. The first engine Karl Benz patented in 1879 and it was designed by him.
Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach were granted a patent a year before Karl Benz's internal combustion automobile model. The year was 1885 and the exact date - August 29. The engine they made is believed to be the first prototype of the today's gas engine and they called it "grandfather clock engine".
In the next year Gottlieb Daimler purchased a stagecoach in which he was planning to put the internal combustion engine. Many people made these purchases in that time but Gottlieb Daimler is perhaps the first one with the engine idea in mind. Daimler and Maybach worked together to adopt this stagecoach to fit the needs of the engine. The official words which Mercedes used for this model is "a carriage without horses". It is without horses but with conventional drawbar steering and internal combustion engine.
Soon after that in 1889 they built a complete model from scratch which was the first automobile powered by four-stoke engine. It was again with four wheels and after the founding of DMG in 1890 they were able to sell the first model of their automobile two years later in 1892.
On the other hand Karl Benz was able to sell his first model in 1888 - an year before Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach was able to build their model.

Karl Benz did that after some refining of his model Motorwagen and maybe this gave him this advantage over the years because he did not started from scratch like Daimler and Maybach did.
In 1899 automobiles from Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft made in a city near Stuttgart took a part in a race driven by Emil Jellinek. Jellinek was a diplomat and a businessman and he was very enthusiastic about the whole idea around automobiles. In 1896 he went to see the designers Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach and soon after that he bought from them his first automobile car - the Phoenix. An interesting story about that car is that Emil Jellinek painted the name of his daughter Mercedes Adriana Manuela Ramona Jellinek on the car for good luck. Years after that a whole series of cars got that name.
Jellinek wanted faster cars and that the 1900 DMG was the first to bear his daughter name. It looks like Jellinek was obsessed by the idea of his daughter's name because he offered and made a contract for 550 000 marks for the purchase of 36 models of the new car with 35 hp engine only to see his daughter name on this car. The new engine was named Daimler-Mercedes engine containing like this only the name of the developer and Mercedes.
Very soon after that he made a deal for another 36 models but of another series - with 8 hp engines. After that on a higher price he was able to sell these models on the market in USA, Belgium, France and Austria-Hungary and that quickly made him be one of the biggest sellers of cars for that time.
Of course the name of his daughter Mercedes kept on showing on new models of automobiles like "Mercedes 35 hp". Jellinek's obsession by the name Mercedes grow up and he even change his own name to Jellinek-Mercedes. For eight years Jellinek took place in the meetings of the board of directors of Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft from 1901 to 1909 but he retired from any activities linked to automobiles because of his diplomatic appointments.
In 1924 the two big companies DMG and Benz & Cie. finally began cooperating but due to World War I and the problems with the German economy in that time they were able to merge two years after that in 1926 and they used the name Daimler-Benz AG. Of course the name Mercedes was not lost. They began production of tracks and automobiles and they used the name Mercedes-Benz for them. From the part of Daimler they got the name Mercedes and Benz was from the part of the ex company Benz & Cie. A clause of the merging agreement compelled the two companies to stay together until 2000.
They focused on creating land models of vehicles but they also made engines for boats and planes for both civil and military organizations. They was able to make even Zeppelins powered by their engines and soon after that in 1929 Karl Benz died.
The company's most efforts were on creating limousine models and their glory is known today for that. Still they made some sport models like the early model of SSK designed by Ferdinand Porsche. Another product is the amazing Mercedes-Benz 300SL. With its gull-wing doors it was an interesting view.
Of course Mercedes-Benz made less expensive cars for the general public too. In Stuttgart they were able to create and test the Volkswagen models in cooperation with Porsche. Before that car a model called A-Class came in production. It is a small family car and maybe because of this the popular name of that car is Baby Benz. The first generation of Baby Benz was created in 1997 and years after that after redesign it appeared again in 2004.

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