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Gottlieb Daimler Memorial

Stuttgart, Germany

Daimler Memorrial, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstadt

ABOVE: Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach pioneered the internal-combustion engine, the horseless carriage, and the motorboat at this greenhouse in the Stuttgart suburb of Bad Cannstadt.

Gottlieb Daimler Gedächtnisstätte signHistorians may not agree on who invented the autombile, but one thing is for certain: the four-stroke gasoline engine was pioneered by Gottlieb Daimler, who--with his business partner Wilhelm Maybach--built the first high-speed "universal motor" in 1883. The single-cylinder horizontal engine, which used a glow-tube ignition, ran at a then-phenomenal 600 revolutions per minute with a horsepower of 0.25 hp.

In 1885, the two men patented their half-horsepower "Grandfather Clock" engine (see photo on page 2), which was used to power a two-wheeled "riding car" or motorcycle, a horseless carriage, and a motorboat by 1886. The newer engine was the predecessor of today's car engines with its sealed crankcase and upright design.

Daimler and Maybach built, tuned, and tested their engines at a converted greenhouse in Bad Cannstatt, a suburb of Stuttgart, which has been preserved as the Gottlieb Daimler Memorial or Gottlieb Daimler Gedächtnisstätte.

 The official brochure explains:

"Daimler and Maybach worked day and night and in complete secrecy. Even Daimler's family and domestic staf had no idea of what was going on in the greenhouse. A suspicious gardener called the police, believing that the greenhouse was a money-counterfeiting workshop. It was to everyone's great surprise that the police found nothing but tools and engine components in a night-time search. Daimler and Maybach were left alone to continue their work."

When and how to visit:

The Gottlieb Daimler Memorial is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

To reach the memorial, follow local road signs to Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, then park near the Kurpark. The greenhouse is at the southern edge of the park.

If you'd rather use public transportatation, take the S-Bahn to Cannstatt, ride Tram 2 to the Kursaal stop in Teinacher Strasse, and continue about three minutes on foot to the memorial at Taubenheimstrasse 13.

The Gottlieb Daimler Memorial is one of several museums and historic sites under the auspices of Mercedes-Benz. For more information, see our articles about the Mercedes-Benz Museum and the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center where vintage cars are restored. Wikipedia also has an interesting article on Gottlieb Daimler.

More photos:

Daimler "Grandfather Clock" engine of 1885

Inside the greenhouse of the Daimler Gedächtnisstätte, you can see a full-size replica of the "Grandfather Clock" engine that was patented in 1885. It consisted of an air-cooled cylinder mounted above an enclosed crankcase.

The engine weighed 60 kg (132 pounds), produced 0.5 hp at 650 rpm, and was light enough for use in a motorcycle, on a carriage, or in a small boat.

Gottlieb Daimler-Wilhelm Mayback motorized carriage of 1886

This model shows the motorized carriage that Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Mayback built in 1886 (one year after Daimler's son Adolph traveled 3 km from Cannstatt to Untertürkheim, now the headquarters of Porsche, on the world's first motorcycle.)

Neckar motorboat photo, Daimler-Maybach workshop

Another model depicts the world's first motorboat, the Neckar, which was built in the same year as the motorized carriage.

Daimler-Maybach workshop with horizontal engine of 1883

In the back room of the greenhouse and workshop, you can see the workbench where Daimler and Maybach assembled their single-cylinder gasoline engines.

The model on the workbench is of the Daimler-Maybach horizontal engine from 1883, which had an internal volume of 0.176 liter or 10.74 cubic inches, or slightly more than the engine displacement of a classic Vespa motorscooter.

Gottlieb Daimler monument, Bad Cannstadt

A monument near the greenhouse honors Gottlieb Daimler, whose name lives on in Daimler AG, the corporate parent of Mercedes-Benz.

More articles about Mercedes-Benz and Stuttgart:
Mercedes-Benz Museum
Mercedes-Benz Classic Center
Straßenbahnwelt Stuttgart (Stuttgart Tram Museum)