Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler was the son of a baker named Johannes Dauemler (Daimler) and his wife Frederika from Schorndorf near Stuttgart. When he was 14 he began studying gunsmithing, building with his teacher a double-barrelled gun.
At 18 he became restless and decided to take up mechanical engineering, studying at StuttgartPolytechnic. After this he travelled throughout Europe studying the latest developments in engineering and in England helped in the setting up of engineering factories in Manchester, Oldham and Leeds.
After working in France and Belgium he finally returned to Germany and 1863, at the age of 29 he started working in a special factory; a ‘Bruderhaus’ in Reutlingen. It had charitable purposes with a staff made up of orphans, invalids and poor people. One of the orphans was Wilhelm Maybach a recently qualified industrial designer aged 19 who would become his lifelong partner.
In 1885 Daimler and Maybach developed the first of their engines, which is often considered as the prototype of all modern petrol engines. They installed a small version into a wooden bicycle the same year, creating the first motorcycle and in March the following year installed a larger 1.5 hp engine into a stage coach which, driven by Maybach along the road to Unterturkheim, attained the speed of 16 kph.