Given the nature of its name, it should come as no surprise to learn that both Mercedes and Benz refer to people who had important roles in bringing Mercedes-Benz into existence. However, the exact manner of these two people's contributions can come as something of a surprise. In short, Mercedes-Benz is not named for the two people at the head of the two companies that came together to create Mercedes-Benz. Instead, it is named for two cars that were seen as being representative of those two companies.
The first was the 1901 Mercedes, which was manufactured by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG). Said car was one in a series of cars that started out with something that had been built for an Austrian diplomat named Emil Jellinek, who happened to be a racing enthusiast as well who managed to bring much consumer interest in DMG through his participation in the car races that served as valuable marketing boosters in those times. As a result, Jellinek was brought into the ranks of DMG's leadership, while the name of Jellinek's car Mercedes became associated with the series of cars that saw his involvement. Initially, Mercedes was the name of Jellinek's daughter, but it is interesting to note that Jellinek seems to have become rather obsessed with the name in later times, so much so that he actually wound up changing his name to Jellinek-Mercedes.
Meanwhile, the second was the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, which came out in 1885. Considering its timing, it might be unsurprising to learn that this particular vehicle is one of the claimants for the title of being the first production automobile that can be found in the entire world. Moreover, it is the vehicle that made Karl Benz's name, though it should be mentioned that he couldn't have succeeded without the efforts of his Bertha. In part, this is because Bertha saw real potential in Karl, so much so that she actually invested her own dowry in his business. However, it should also be noted that Bertha was the one who marketed the Benz Patent-Motorwagen by taking it on the first long-distance road trip on an automobile in history, which required her to act as not just the driver but also the mechanic who had to deal with all of the problems that came up along the way from Mannheim to Pforzheim. As a result, it is no wonder that the Benz Patent-Motorwagen became emblematic of Benz & Cie, one of the two companies that combined to form Mercedes-Benz.
How Did the Mercedes-Benz Logo Come Into Existence?
Naturally, the Mercedes-Benz logo came into existence as a result of the combination of the two companies. However, it is important to note that it has continued to undergo change since its initial creation, which is why there are some significant differences between the initial version and the current version.
First, DMG used a star. This is because the sons of Gottlieb Daimler remembered their father sending a postcard to their mother claiming that a three-pointed star that was used to mark out the location of his house would in time, bring prosperity to him by shining over his car factory. As a result, DMG went with a three-pointed star for its symbol, though it is interesting to note that it trade-marked a four-pointed star that was never used as well.
Second, Benz & Cie used a laurel wreath surrounding its name. As for the choice of a laurel wreath, well, suffice to say that it is a powerful symbol with long-standing meaning in Europe. After all, the laurel wreath was what the ancient Greeks handed out to victors at athletic as well as poetic competitions, much as how the laurel wreath was what the ancient Romans handed to those who received the honor of holding a triumph throughout the city. Summed up, the laurel wreath is not just a symbol of victory but also a symbol of power, which is something that it retains to the present day.
When DMG and Benz & Cie came together, the three-pointed star was combined with the laurel wreath to create the predecessor to the modern Mercedes-Benz symbol. It is interesting to note that the symbol possesses an additional meaning in that its three points represent the company's desire for universal motorization on not just land but also the air as well as the sea, which is rather ambitious to say the least.
Written by Garrett Parker
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