Biography of Automobile Inventor Gottlieb Daimler

In 1885, Daimler invented a gas engine, revolutionizing car design

Gottlieb Daimler sitting in a motor vehicle
Gottlieb Daimler in a motor vehicle constructed by himself in 1886. LOC

In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler (together with his design partner Wilhelm Maybach) took Nicolaus Otto's internal combustion engine a step further and patented what is generally recognized as the prototype of the modern gas engine.

First Motorcycle

Gottlieb Daimler's connection to Nicolaus Otto was a direct one; Daimler worked as technical director of Deutz Gasmotorenfabrik, which Nicolaus Otto co-owned in 1872. There is some controversy as to who built the first motorcycle, Nicolaus Otto or Gottlieb Daimler.

The World's First Four-Wheeled Automobile

The 1885 Daimler-Maybach engine was small, lightweight, fast, used a gasoline-injected carburetor, and had a vertical cylinder. The size, speed, and efficiency of the engine allowed for a revolution in car design.

On March 8, 1886, Daimler took a stagecoach (made by Wilhelm Wimpff & Sohn) and adapted it to hold his engine, thereby designing the world's first four-wheeled automobile.

In 1889, Gottlieb Daimler invented a V-slanted two cylinder, four-stroke engine with mushroom-shaped valves. Just like Otto's 1876 engine, Daimler's new engine set the basis for all car engines going forward.

Four-Speed Transmission

Also in 1889, Daimler and Maybach built their first automobile from the ground up, they did not adapt another purpose vehicle as had always been done previously. The new Daimler automobile had a four-speed transmission and obtained speeds of 10 mph.

Daimler Motoren-Gesellschaft

Gottlieb Daimler founded the Daimler Motoren-Gesellschaft in 1890 to manufacture his designs. Wilhelm Maybach was behind the design of the Mercedes automobile. Maybach eventually left Daimler to set up his own factory for making engines for Zeppelin airships.

First Automobile Race

In 1894, the first automobile race in the world was won by a car with a Daimler engine.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Bellis, Mary. "Biography of Automobile Inventor Gottlieb Daimler." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Bellis, Mary. (2023, April 5). Biography of Automobile Inventor Gottlieb Daimler. Retrieved from Bellis, Mary. "Biography of Automobile Inventor Gottlieb Daimler." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).