Gottlieb Daimler (1834 – 1900)

Gottlieb Daimler was one of the outstanding pioneers of the motor industry. Born at Schorndorf, Wurtemburg, he studied at the Polytechnic in Stuttgart, before travelling to enlarge his understanding of engineering, working on the gas engine of J J Lenoir in Paris, gaining experience in a locomotive works at Strasburg, and at the factory of Joseph Whitworth (1803-87) in Manchester. 

In 1872 he became technical director of Deutz-AG-Gasmotorenfabrik in Cologne, a large-scale producer of stationary engines, which was half-owned by Nikolaus Otto (1832-91). In this and other ventures he worked closely with Wilhelm Maybach (1846-1929), whom he first met when he was working in a charitable home, the Bruderhaus in Reutlingen, where Maybach was an inmate. 

Daimler parted, acrimoniously, from Otto in 1880, and in 1882, with Maybach, set up a workshop at Cannstatt, Stuttgart, producing small, high-speed engines. Daimler and Maybach produced the engine that is regarded as the prototype of all modern petrol engines in 1885, creating the first carburettor in the same year. Daimler attached an engine to a bicycle, producing the first motorcycle, in 1885, and the following year attached one of their engines to a carriage. His first proper motorcar appeared in 1889. The following year with the support of bankers Daimler established the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG), but there were disagreements with his financial backers, and Maybach, denied a seat on the board, left the company. 

In 1894 Daimler, his son Paul and Maybach designed an engine called the Phoenix, that was made by DMG. The company remained unstable, but an Englishman, Frederick Simmons bought the right to make the Phoenix and to use the Daimler name in Great Britain, on condition that Gottlieb Daimler returned to the company. Struggles with board members continued until Daimler`s death in 1900, but his firmly-held belief that the company should be primarily concerned with the production of motorcars on a large scale was vindicated by the its success in the 20th century. It merged with Benz & Co in 1926.