The Story of Gottlieb Daimler and his Automobile

Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler was a German engineer, inventor and entrepreneur. Known as the inventor of his own internal-combustion engine, he was born on March 17 1834 in in the town of Schorndorf near Stuttgart, Germany.

Gottlieb Daimler
Gottlieb Daimler (Photo Credit:

Gottlieb Daimler was the son of a baker. While growing up, he was fascinated with all things mechanical. He was trained as a gunsmith before going to college to pursue mechanical engineering. As a student, he worked in a locomotive factory where he rose to become a foreman at the age of 22. In 1861, he left for France, then England and later Belgium. In all his travels, he worked in factories and personally studied different machines especially how engines work.

Returning to Germany, Gottlieb Daimler worked in various engineering firms. In 1872, he joined the firm of Nikolaus A. Otto as a technical director. Later, he was joined with his friend Wilhelm Maybach who became the chief designer. The two stayed with the company for eight years in which time they have become familiar with Otto’s four-stroke engine.

In 1882, Gottlieb and Maybach began working on a small but fast running engine. After a year, they got a patent for their invention. In 1885, they produced the famous grandfather clock engine. The following year, the engine was mounted in a four wheeled vehicle which was able to run for 16 km/hr. In 1889, the two produced their first commercially feasible automobile. In 1890, Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) was established. However, when other investors were allowed to pump additional capital, Gottlieb Daimler eventually lost control.

Gottlieb Daimler died in 1900 at the age of 65. He had five sons with wife Emma Kunz. In 1924, DMG was merged with Benz Motors to form Daimler-Benz.


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