The early years.
Gottlieb Daimler was born in Schorndorf on March 17, 1834. In addition to the Latin School he attended technical drawing classes on Sundays.
In 1848 Gottlieb Daimler began an apprenticeship as a gunmaker in Schorndorf, presumably with Master Wilke. In 1852 he completed this with his journeyman’s project, a double-barreled pistol. After a stay in France, where he gained practical experience in mechanical engineering, Daimler attended the Polytechnic College in Stuttgart from 1857 to 1859. After various technical activities in France and England, he took a position as a technical draughtsman in Geislingen. At the end of 1863 he became the workshop inspector at the engineering factory of Bruderhaus Reutlingen, a Christian institution founded to give homes and work to the socially disadvantaged, where he also made the acquaintance of Wilhelm Maybach in 1865.
On November 9, 1867 he married Emma Kurtz of Maulbronn. In 1869 he left Reutlingen and became head foreman at Maschinenbau-Gesellschaft in Karlsruhe. Three years later he moved to Otto und Langen as Technical Manager of Gasmotorenfabrik Deutz, where he became familiar with Otto’s four-stroke principle. Following differences of opinion with the management, he left this employment in mid-1882.
The garden workshop.
In 1882 Daimler had purchased a villa in Taubenheimstraße, Cannstatt for 75,000 Goldmarks. The large garden of this villa contained a greenhouse which he immediately converted into a workshop with a brick extension.
The basic approach of Gottlieb Daimler was to use gasoline as the fuel for his engines, and to install these in every conceivable type of vehicle – on land, on water and in the air. Naturally he turned to Otto’s four-stroke process as the operating principle for these engines, however this did not allow high revolving speeds owing to its complicated ignition mechanism.After intensive experimentation, Daimler filed a patent for an uncooled, heat-insulated engine with an unregulated hot-tube ignition system. This patent with the number DRP 28022 was extremely cleverly worded, as it was strictly speaking hardly different from the four-stroke principle invented by Otto. Accordingly it gave rise to a number of bitter legal disputes in which the company in Deutz involved itself, as Daimler had refused to grant the company free user rights to the unregulated hot-tube ignition system. Thanks to a personal appearance by Daimler, the court was persuaded to agree with his arguments and support his claim. The first experimental engine eventually ran towards the end of 1883; it was cast by the Kurz bell-foundry and is shown in their books as the 'small model engine'. Thanks to the hot-tube ignition system and curved groove exhaust valve control, this engine achieved 600 rpm and easily bettered existing engines which could only manage a maximum speed of 120-180 rpm. The next experimental engine was known as the Grandfather Clock by virtue of its appearance. The output of the first version built in 1884 was around one horsepower at 600 rpm. With this unit, which was designed for low weight and compact dimensions, Daimler and Maybach created the basis for installation in a vehicle. The first experimental vehicle was a motorcycle with a wooden frame subsequently known as the Riding Cycle or Riding Car. An even more compact version of the single-cylinder Grandfather Clock was installed vertically beneath the seat. For this 'Vehicle with a gas or petroleum engine', as the patent application read, Daimler was granted patent no. DRP 36423 on August 28, 1885. By the spring of 1886 Daimler had ordered an 'American' coach from coachbuilder W. Wimpff & Sohn. Manufactured in Hamburg and assembled in Stuttgart, the coach was delivered on August 28 and secretly brought to Daimler’s home during the night, ostensibly as a birthday present for Emma Daimler. The engine, which was installed under the supervision of Maybach at Maschinenfabrik Esslingen together with the drawbar steering, developed 1 ½ hp and was built along the lines of the Grandfather Clock. Power was transferred by means of belts. Daimler’s Motorized Coach was the world’s first four-wheeled automobile.