Mercedes began in the 1800s due to the dreams and expertise of three men; Gottlieb Daimler, Carl Benz, and Wilhelm Maybach. All three had technical backgrounds in machining and more important gas engine development. Daimler partnered with Maybach in the early 1880s to develop a gas engine known today as the “Grandfather Clock”. To gain more capital he forms Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft or DMG in November 1890. Maybach soon leaves and Daimler has conflicts with other business partners, but the two are reunited at DMG in the mid 1890s.
Carl Benz moved in a slightly different direction, since his engine development began with two-stroke designs. The Benz and Co. was founded in 1883 and first developed these engines, but Benz quickly realized that they would be too heavy for a motorized vehicle. By 1897 Benz had developed the four-stroke “contra” engine that was the basis for today’s boxer engines. His business success first came with the introduction of the motorized Velocipede, known as the “Velo”, which was produced from 1894 and 1901.
Daimler and Maybach first developed the “riding car”, which in essence was the first motorcycle with a single-cylinder engine mounted vertically in a wooden frame. Daimler is issued a patent in August 1885. Benz took the profits from his gas engine factory and develops the Benz Patent Motor Car, having received the patent in January 1886. His design used a horizontal engine and large flywheel in a three-wheeled vehicle which was the world’s first automobile.
Both Daimler and Benz created motor coaches and light trucks until the end of the 19th Century. Mercedes is then formed, and Gottlieb Daimler dies soon after. The first Mercedes model is announced at the 1901 Nice Race Week, where it generates a lot of interest. The Mercedes was the first modern automobile, utilizing a chassis not based on earlier wooden carriages but rather a lightweight vehicle with a 35 horsepower motor. Racing victories and high sales volumes soon followed, and Mercedes initiated a new era in automotive development.
DMG held the “Mercedes” trademark from September 1902. However, they lacked a suitable emblem or trademark to visually identify their vehicles at a glance. Gottlieb Daimler’s sons Paul and Adolf remembered that their father had previously used a star as a model emblem. As a result, DMG registered both three- and four-star symbols as trademarks in 1909. The three-pointed star was chosen by 1910 and would be used on all future Mercedes vehicles. Daimler and Benz created a joint venture in 1924 after years of inflation and poor sales. The newly formed Mercedes-Benz Automotive Group initially handled sales of both brands until the formation of Daimler-Benz AG in June 1926. From then on Mercedes and the three-pointed star would become symbols of their tradition from the past and innovation in design for the future.
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