6. Gottlieb Daimler, Co-Founder Of Mercedes Benz, Also Developed The First Motorcycle But Inadvertently.
In 1882 Gottlieb Daimler moved with his wife Emma and their five children to a 75,000 gold mark villa in Cannstatt. The property had a large garden and a spacious greenhouse, which became a workshop for Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach.
Cannstatt is known as the birthplace of motorcycles and four-wheel motorcars.
Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach had the vision to develop a small but powerful gasoline-powered engine. They wanted to install it into any vehicle.
Fearing the competition, the two engineers worked under the highest secrecy. The gardener in charge of the villa’s backyard became suspicious and one day told a police officer he suspected that Daimler could make counterfeit money in their dwelling. The police found only tools and engine parts instead of a coin press.
Due to its compact design and low weight of around 60 kilograms, Daimler and Maybach decided to test their engine first on a two-wheel vehicle instead of a four. Until then, no one had produced such a small, light, and powerful engine as they did.
After they installed their high-speed engine into an experimental ash wooden two-wheeler, they unknowingly built the first motorcycle in the world.
At first glance, it looks like a strange chunky wooden bicycle with training wheels. Later you discover the engine. It transmits its power to the rear wheel via a leather transmission belt.
The spectators of the premiere drive also experienced some frightening moments. Several flames seen between the legs of Adolf Daimler emerged from the engine part. But the first use of Reitwagen weighing around 90 kilograms was a success and marked a milestone in the development of individual mobility.
The Daimler Reitwagen from 1885 was a test vehicle for the engine and remained a unique piece. Nine years later, in 1894 in Munich, The Hildebrand & Wolfmüller became the world’s first mass-produced motorcycle. They built approximately two thousand pieces.
The Daimler Ridingcar is in the Mercedes Museum, but it is one of the ten replicas produced for the occasion of the 100th birthday of Mercedes-Benz. The factory fire in 1903 destroyed the original motorbike. (The Ancestors of the Automobile – French photographer Jules Beau, 1899)