The Mercedes Benz Story
In 1882, and Gottlieb Daimler purchased a cottage in rural German where he and Wilhelm Mybach set up shop and began working on their version of a horseless carriage. The police raided the cottage expecting a counterfeiting operation but found only engines.
Meanwhile in Mannheim Karl Benz had been working on an automobile of his own. He beat Damiler and Maybach to the punch in 1886, when Benz was granted a patent for his first automobile.
Maybach and Daimler went on to fit a stagecoach with one of their engines and they too were in the car manufacturing business.
Karl Benz’s enterprises were languishing due to poor marketing and unreliability. Bertha Benz who had financed Karl before their marriage decided to protect her investment. On August 5,1888, without telling her husband and without permission of the authorities, took her sons ages thirteen and fifteen and secreted off in one of Karl’s automobiles.
On her journey of about sixty six miles from Mannheim to Pforzheim, Bertha obtained ligroin from pharmacies along the way for fuel. She had a blacksmith repair the cars chain, used a long, straight hatpin to clean a blocked fuel pipe, and insulated a bare wire with her garter. She also repaired the brakes effectively inventing brake linings.
Bertha and the boys reached Pforzheim somewhat after dusk, and notified her husband by telegram. She drove back to Mannheim the next day with the publicity she had set out to generate.
After the death of Gottlieb Damler, Emil Jellinek, a successful Austrian car dealer and racing driver, approached Wilhelm Maybach, technical director of the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, or DMG and promised to buy a shipment of 36 automobiles if Maybach could design a great race car following his specifications.
In 1901 Jellinick’s car named after his ten year old daughter Mercedes, enjoyed a string of racing successes. The name Mercedes (Spanish for mercy) stayed with DMG’s successful line of cars.
When Karl Benz’s company merged with DMG in 1926, the new company was called: Mercedes Benz.