The history of Mercedes-Benz

Today we are looking at the history of Mercedes-Benz. Today, it is hard to imagine the roads without the Stuttgart-based company’s cars. But it was a long road with many ups and downs before the car became a global success. It is not possible to say exactly when the first automobile was developed, as the first vehicles that could be driven without muscle power were invented as early as the 17th century. However, the Benz Patent Motor Car Number 1 is considered to be the first practical automobile.

Carl Benz – a pioneer in the history of the automobile

When Carl Benz (originally Karl Benz) developed the first car with an internal combustion engine in 1885, he was initially ridiculed. Many did not believe that his invention would catch on. Today it is obvious that Benz was right.

After many years of attempts, which were often not crowned with success, he succeeded in building a well-functioning engine for the first time in 1879. He then founded the Benz & Cie. gas engine factory in Mannheim in 1883. After he applied for a patent for his invention in 1886, it was his wife, Bertha Benz, who helped the car to become better known in 1888 with a trip to Pforzheim, 104 kilometers away. Today, the Bertha Benz Memorial Route commemorates the route she traveled. With her tour, Bertha Benz finally proved the practicality of the car.

When Carl Benz was allowed to present his invention at the Paris World Exhibition in 1889, the vehicle attracted a great deal of attention. Thus began the triumphal march of the automobile, which Carl Benz, who died in 1929, lived to see.

Gottlieb Daimler – pioneer of the automotive industry

Alongside Carl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler is one of the most important personalities in the history of the automobile. The engine with glow tube ignition that he developed together with Wilhelm Maybach formed the basis for the engine of the Benz Patent Motor Car developed by Carl Benz. Daimler also developed the first motorcycle, the Reitwagen, together with Maybach in 1885.

A legal dispute arose over the Gottlieb Daimler invention used by Carl Benz. As a result, Benz & Cie had to pay license fees to Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. Although the two inventors lived not far from each other (Benz near Mannheim and Daimler near Stuttgart), they never met. Although they met in 1897 when the Central European Motor Car Association was founded, they did not want to talk to each other. When Gottlieb Daimler died in 1900, the automobile was yet to achieve its greatest successes.

Where does the name Mercedes come from?

The name Mercedes, which was used for the vehicles of Gottlieb Daimler and later Daimler-Benz AG, goes back to the daughter of the Austro-Hungarian diplomat and automobile racing driver Emil Jellinek. He had named his Daimler vehicle after his daughter and thus made it famous. In order to profit from this, Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft registered the name Mercedes as a trademark. This is why the cars produced by Daimler-Benz AG, which later emerged from a merger, are still sold under the name Mercedes Benz today.

Daimler-Benz AG – the foundation of a global corporation

Daimler-Benz AG was formed in 1926 from the merger of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft with Benz & Cie. At this time, many German car manufacturers were experiencing difficulties, which is why Daimler-Benz AG was founded, which has since been renamed Daimler AG. After the merger, the company quickly enjoyed great success. After the National Socialists seized power in 1933, the construction of engines and vehicles for the German military became more important and soon accounted for the majority of production. Only a few Daimler plants were destroyed during the Second World War. At this time, the company wrote a dark chapter in its history when concentration camp prisoners, prisoners of war and other forced laborers were used in the Daimler-Benz-AG plants for production.

After the Second World War, Daimler-Benz concentrated more on building automobiles again and developed various safety features for cars that are still important today. After a less than successful merger with Chrysler in 1998, Daimler and Chrysler split up again in 2007. Since then, the car manufacturer has operated under the name Daimler AG.

Of course, we are only offering an insight into the history of Mercedes Benz, which fills entire books. Even better than reading about the history is experiencing it for yourself. You can do this in a museum or by driving a historic vehicle yourself. Various models and all associated spare parts can be found in our online store.