Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft was established in 1890 in Stuttgart (Cannstatt), Germany by long-time collaborators Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach. Earlier, William Steinway had obtained North American rights to Daimler's motor patents and established the Daimler Motor Co. in New York.
Three different accounts exist as to the beginning of a business relationship between Gottlieb Daimler and William Steinway and the subsequent business relationship between Steinway's New York-based Daimler Motor Co. and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (Daimler Motor Company) of Stuttgart. The explanations are: (1) that Steinway and Daimler became acquainted through Wilhelm Maybach, who during the 1876 Philadelphia World's Fair visited his brother, a Steinway employee (5); (2) that Steinway was introduced to Daimler by William's sister Doretta, who was living in Germany at the time (1); and (3) that during an 1888 trip to Europe Steinway heard that Daimler was experimenting with self-propelled vehicles.(7)
In any event, in his Diary entry for August 22, 1888, in Stuttgart, William wrote, "Have a long talk with Daimler in the presence of Harry Candidus" (Diary, 1888-08-22) After experiencing rides in a vehicle powered by a Daimler engine, William proceeded to form the Daimler Motor Company in New York.(4)(6) The board of directors of that company first met on February 2, 1889.(Diary, 1889-02-02)
In 1890, long-time collaborators Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, who had established a factory in Stuttgart, Germany in 1882 to produce internal combustion engines, formed Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, again to manufacture internal combustion engines.(2) (3) "Almost immediately" they were at odds with their primary investors.(2) William Steinway, then in Germany, noted in his Diary entry for August 6, 1890, "Daimler . . . is quite disturbed about his AktienGesellschaft at Canstatt . . . ." (Diary, 1890-08-06) Maybach, not given a seat on the board of directors of the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft, resigned in 1891, and Daimler was "forced out" in 1893.(2) On November 11, 1894, William writes in his Diary, "The long awaited letter of Gottlieb Daimler arrives, and beyond the details of how he stepped out of the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft Stuttgart it does not say one word as to his future intentions about the Daimler Motor Co. here." (Diary, 1894-11-11)
Some time after Daimler's and Maybach's victory in an 1894 Paris to Rouen motor car race, which came at the expense of the German Daimler Motor Company, British investor Fredrick Simms conditioned his investment in the German Daimler Motor Company on Daimler's return to the firm. Daimler did return and brought Maybach back as chief engineer.(2) Daimler lived until March 6, 1900. Decades after his passing, his German company merged with the company of Karl Benz, Benz & Sons, to form Daimler-Benz AG. This company is best known for manufacturing the Mercedes-Benz automobile.(2)
1. Fostle, D.W. The Steinway Saga: An American Dynasty. New York: Scribner, 1995, p.321.
2. "Gottlieb Daimler," available from NNDB Web site
3. Ludvigsen, Karl, "Dawn of the Automotive Age," available from Mercedes-Benz Club of America web site
4. "North Beach, Steinway, Long Island: Motor Without Steam," The New York Times, July 12, 1896, p. 25.
5. Reichmann, Eberhard, and Ruth, "Steinway and Daimler-Benz" www.germanheritage.com based on "The History of Industrial Automobile Production in the United States Up to the Time of the Century and the German Influence." Antique Automobile, vol 35, January-February 1971.
6. Salemi, Michael. "The Nearly Forgotten Story of the Mercedes from Long Island." The Star, January-February, 2011, p. 44.
7. "The Steinway-Mercedes connection," http://thefreelibrary.com/The+Steinway-Mercedes+connection.