History

History

Experience the great moments in automotive history.

Experience the great moments in automotive history.

Introduction


Origin and history of Mercedes‑Benz.

Introduction


Origin and history of Mercedes‑Benz.

From the origins to the legend – Mercedes-Benz history began in 1886 when engineer Karl Benz invented the world’s first car. This invention pioneered a path of innovation and technology which remains with us today.

Look back on over a century of history.

Origins


The Origins.

Origins


The Origins.

  • Makers of the motorcar

    Gottlieb Daimler

    Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz

    When Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz invented the high-speed engine and the automobile independently of each other in the 1880s, they laid the foundations for motorised private transport. With the help of financial backers and partners, both engineers carried out private development work at their own companies. Benz founded Benz & Co. Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik in Mannheim in October 1883; the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) was founded in Cannstatt in November 1890.

    Both companies wanted to come up with a memorable trademark to make their products both distinctive and familiar. Initially they opted for their own names – Benz and Daimler – to represent the origins and quality of their engines and vehicles. The Benz & Cie. trademark did not change (though the gearwheel used in 1903 was replaced by a laurel wreath encircling the Benz name from 1909). However, the products of DMG appeared under the new brand name Mercedes at the turn of the century.

  • Benz & Cie.

    Origins

    The first steps

    Together with businessman Max Rose and trade representative Friedrich Wilhelm Esslinger Karl Benz founded the Benz & Co. Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik (called Benz & Cie. after 1899) as a public incorporated corporation. 

    The number of company employees grew rapidly to 25 and licences for building gas engines were issued. Financially secure, Benz could now focus all his energy on car engine development. To do so he began with the design of an all-encompassing vehicle in which to integrate his four-stroke petrol engine. His competitor Daimler on the other hand integrated his first engine in a carriage. In 1886, Karl Benz was granted a patent for his vehicle and presented the first "Benz Patent-Motorwagen" (Benz Patent Motor Car) to the public.

    Three versions of the three-wheeled vehicle were produced between 1885 and 1887: model no. 1 was presented by Benz to the German Museum in 1906; model no. 2 is assumed to have been modified and reconstructed several times; and model no. 3, which featured wooden-spoke wheels, was driven by Bertha Benz on the first long-distance automobile trip in 1888.

    Growing demand for stationary engines enabled Benz & Co. Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik to move to a larger production facility. Following the arrival of new partners, Friedrich von Fischer and Julius Ganß, in 1890, the Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik advanced to the status of second-largest engine manufacturer in Germany. In 1893, Karl Benz introduced axle-pivot steering to the automotive industry. He also developed the "contra" engine, the forerunner to today’s boxer engine, in 1896.

  • Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft

    Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft

    The early years

    The Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) was officially established in 1890 following its notary certification in Stuttgart. It confirmed the approval for Daimler-related inventions. On 14 March Gottlieb Daimler, Max Duttenhofer and Wilhelm Lorenz had concluded a preliminary agreement. 

    In October 1894 Gottlieb Daimler temporarily left the DMG and officially relinquished his stake in the company. Together with Wilhelm Maybach he devoted himself to further developing the car in the decommissioned garden hall of Hotel Hermann in Cannstatt.

    The first truck in the world was built in 1896 by DMG. The vehicle was delivered to the UK. In 1900, DMG and Jellinek concluded an agreement in Nice concerning the sale and distribution of Daimler cars and engines. It was also agreed that "a new type of engine would be developed and that it was to bear the name Daimler-Mercedes". Jellinek’s pseudonym "Mercedes" which he chose because it was his daughter’s name, thus became a brand name for the first time. That same month, in April, Jellinek ordered 36 vehicles from Cannstatt for a total price of 550,000 gold marks.

    In 1902 the Motorfahrzeug- und Motorenfabrik Berlin AG in Marienfelde was taken over by DMG, a significant merger for that time. In Untertürkheim (Stuttgart) new production facilities were created in 1903 and the company’s head office was moved from Cannstatt to Untertürkheim. In 1907 Chief Design Engineer Wilhelm Maybach left Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft. His successor as head of the design office and technical direction was Paul Daimler.

    After the war both DMG and Benz & Cie. were affected by the economic crisis. Diversification was necessary and as a result typewriters were produced in Untertürkheim along with cars. In an extraordinary meeting of shareholders in 1922 the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft decided to move the head office from Untertürkheim to Berlin for tax reasons. The difficult economic situation and a large number of car manufacturers on the market made partnerships a necessity. In 1924 the companies of Daimler and Benz were already working together in a joint venture which offered cars under the name of "Mercedes-Benz".

    In 1923 Ferdinand Porsche took over as head of the DMG design office from Paul Daimler. In 1924 Benz & Cie. and Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft merged to become a joint venture. Their shared sales activities for the brands "Mercedes“ and "Benz“ were taken on by the newly established Mercedes-Benz Automobil GmbH.

  • The first Mercedes

    The first Mercedes

    The magic moments of a legend

    In early April 1900, DMG and Jellinek concluded an agreement concerning the sale and distribution of Daimler cars and engines. When the decision was taken to develop a new engine bearing the name "Daimler-Mercedes", Jellinek’s pseudonym also became a product name.

    On 22 December 1900, the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft delivered to Jellinek the first car equipped with a new engine – a 35 hp racing car. The vehicle was far above and beyond the vehicles previously designed and built by DMB and ended the "coach" era in automotive construction. Developed by Wilhelm Maybach, Chief Design Engineer at DMG, this first "Mercedes" caused a sensation at the beginning of the last century. With its low centre of gravity, a compressed-steel frame, the light and powerful engine and the honeycomb radiator, it introduced many innovations and is seen today as the first automobile of its generation.

  • Three-pointed star

    Three-pointed star

    Origins

    DMG has used the successful, patent-protected, brand name "Mercedes" since September 1902. But there was still no characteristic trademark. Gottlieb Daimler’s sons, Paul and Adolf, recalled that their father had previously used a three-pointed star as a symbol.

    Gottlieb Daimler was the Technical Director of Deutz Gasmotorenfabrik from 1872 to 1881. At the beginning of his period of employment, he had marked his house on a picture of Cologne and Deutz with a three-pointed star. He predicted to his wife that this star would one day rise gloriously above his production plant.

    The DMG Board of Management seized on this prediction and in June 1909 registered both a three-pointed and four-pointed star as trademarks. Both logos were legally protected but it was the three-pointed star that was ultimately used. A three-dimensional star featured on the front radiator of vehicles from 1910 onwards. The three-pointed star was also intended as a symbol for Daimler’s principle of universal motorisation "on the ground, on water and in the air". Over the years it underwent a number of design amendments. In 1916 for example a circle was placed around the star, in which four small stars and the word Mercedes or the name of the DMG plants Untertürkheim and Berlin-Marienfelde were inserted.

    In November 1921, DMG applied for protection of utility patents for new variants of its brand logo and registered a three-dimensional three-pointed star enclosed in a circle at the patent office – including a design for the radiator grille.

  • The emblem

    The emblem

    On every surface

    In June 1926, the two oldest motor manufacturers DMG and Benz & Cie. (formerly Benz & Co.) merged to form Daimler‑Benz AG. A new brand logo was born, which incorporated the key elements of previous emblems: the three-pointed star.

    The period after the First World War was heavily affected by inflation and poor sales figures – especially for luxury goods such as passenger cars – and weighed heavily on the German car industry. Only strong brands produced by financially established companies were able to survive, but were often forced into mergers or partnerships. Competitors for many years, DMG and Benz & Cie. entered into a joint venture as early as 1924 in order to remain competitive through standardised design and manufacturing, purchasing, sales and advertising.

    During this period the two companies frequently engaged in joint advertising using separate trademarks. Two years later, in June 1926, the two oldest motor manufacturers then merged to form Daimler‑Benz AG.

    A new brand logo encompassing the key elements of previous elements was created: the world-famous three-pointed star of the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft was surrounded with the "Mercedes" word mark and the equally acclaimed "Benz" brand name with a laurel wreath encircling both words.

    To this day, this trademark, which has scarcely been modified over the decades, continues to grace Mercedes‑Benz vehicles. The three-pointed star has become a universal symbol for quality and safety and the Mercedes‑Benz name is associated with tradition and innovation, with the future of the motor car throughout the world.

Personalities


Personalities.

Personalities


Personalities.

Karl Benz

Karl Benz

Bertha Benz

Bertha Benz

Gottlieb Daimler

Gottlieb Daimler

Wilhelm Maybach

Wilhelm Maybach

Emil Jellinek and his daughter Mercedes

Emil Jellinek and his daughter Mercedes

Innovation


125 Years of Innovation.

Innovation


125 Years of Innovation.

125 years ago, we invented the automobile

Today, our passion for new ideas is as strong as ever, as we work on everything from electric drive systems to fuel cell technologies. Because 125 years from now, we still plan to be ahead of our time.

125 years of innovation