Gottlieb Daimler was born on 17 March 1834 in Schorndorf. The Daimler family, which also spelled its name Deumler or Teimbler, had already been living in the town of Schorndorf, which at that time had about 4000 inhabitants, for some two centuries.
In 1848, Daimler, the future founder of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft, DMG, entered upon an apprenticeship as gunsmith in Schorndorf, successfully completing it in 1852. After a time in France, where he gained practical experience in mechanical engineering, Daimler attended Stuttgart Polytechnic College from 1857 to 1859. Following further work in the technical field in France and Britain, in 1863 he took on the job of shop inspector at the engineering works of Bruderhaus Reutlingen. Here, he made the acquaintance of Wilhelm Maybach in 1865.
After marrying Emma Kurtz, in 1869 he became factory director of Maschinenbau-Gesellschaft Karlsruhe. In 1872, he joined Gasmotorenfabrik Deutz as technical manager. There, he gained an intimate knowledge of the four-stroke principle of Nikolaus August Otto.
Experimental workshop in Cannstatt
Differences with the management led to a parting of ways in mid-1882. Daimler moved to Cannstatt and set up an experimental workshop in the garden of his villa. By the end of 1883, he had developed a small high-speed internal combustion engine with an uncontrolled hot-tube ignition to the patentability stage.
The "grandfather clock" and the Riding Car
The next test engine, called the “grandfather clock” because of its appearance, resulted in 1884 in the ultimate breakthrough, and found use in various stages of development in the so-called Reitwagen (Riding Car), in the Daimler motor carriage and in several boats. In June 1887, the young company occupied new premises on the Seelberg in Cannstatt.
In 1890, with the participation of financially strong supporters Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft was established. Daimler’s closest associate Wilhelm Maybach already left the company on 11 February 1891. Daimler himself was squeezed out of DMG by the new partners in 1893, but returned in 1895 together with Maybach. The return of Daimler and Maybach caused an unprecedented upturn of business at DMG.
The last years
Gottlieb Daimler had been suffering from a heart condition since the end of the 1880s. In the winter of 1892/93, he fell ill again and was sent to Florence in the spring for a cure. There, he met Lina Hartmann, née Schwend, his second wife. His first wife, Emma, had died on 28 July 1889. The marriage took place on 8 July 1893 in Schwäbisch Hall. The honeymoon trip took the couple to Chicago, and Daimler took advantage of this to visit the world exposition there.