125 years of innovation29 January 2011
On January 29, 1886 Carl Benz ﬁled a patent application („Reichspatent“ number 37435) for his motor car. The ﬁrst motor vehicle to be designed as such from the outset was born and the history of the automobile began to take its course. This is a story that could hardly be more impressive or inspiring and in 2011 we celebrate the 125th anniversary of this invention. It is a success story which would have been unimaginable without the achievements of a number of remarkable ﬁgures: Carl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, all of them regarded as the pioneers of automobile engineering. Among them was the man who, toghether with his son Karl Maybach, laid the foundations of todayʻs Maybach brand.
This story started at the “Bruderhaus“ orphanage in Reutlingen, which was the scene of an auspicious encounter between Wilhelm Maybach and Gottlieb Daimler in the summer of 1865. The 31-year-old Gottlieb Daimler, an engineer, was in charge of the engineering works associated with the orphanage. Since the very beginning, he saw the great potential of one of his pupils: Wilhelm Maybach. The young Maybach impressed Gottlieb Daimler with his talent for technical drawing and his almost inexhaustible, creative designs. Gottlieb Daimler encouraged and supported Wilhelm Maybach, becoming the father ﬁgure that guided his work. The two were united - true to Wilhelm Maybachʻs guiding principle of „only using the very best to create the very best“ - in an unshakable commitment to achieving perfection. It was the start of a partnership that was to give rise to numerous, trailblazing inventions.
Gottlieb Daimlerʻs career ambitions led him to move to the Maschinenbau-Gesellschaft in Karlsruhe at the end of 1868. Wilhelm Maybach followed him there to work as a technical draughtsman and in the following years their fellowship went on, bringing them to set up their own business in Cannstatt, near Stuttgart.
The two inventors concentrated their efforts on reﬁning and enhancing the four-stroke engine, achieving a sensational breakthrough in 1884: thanks to the newly developed curved groove control and the hot-tube ignition system, the engine was able to attain a speed of 600 rpm and developed what was at that time the extraordinarily ingenious output of one horse-power. This engine was ﬁrst ﬁtted in a two-wheeler, known as the „Reitwagen“, which covered a distance of 3.000 metres at a top speed of 12 kilometres per hour.
This way, the two engineers had set a milestone which formed the basis of the world of individual mobility and which was to change the way we live from then on.
The story of the two brilliant inventors does more than just demonstrate how revolutionary their inventions were: it also shows the importance of discovering and supporting talent so that new ideas may ﬂourish. In fact, Karl Maybach was continuously supported by his father during all his life. This relationship helped him on developing technically advanced engines - following his fatherʼs footsteps - and bringing the name Maybach to the peaks of excellence.