April 6, 1853 – The man who took his daughter’s name

Emil Jellinek may not ring any bells at first, but add Mercedes to the end and it sure does. Born on this day in 1853 in Leipzig, Germany, Emil found success in the auto industry after partnering with DMG to build a car “not for today or tomorrow, but the day after tomorrow,” as he put it. The automobiles he built were named after his daughter, Mercedes. The success of his vehicles led Emil, at the age of 50, to add her first name to his surname, saying “This is probably the first time that a father has taken his daughter’s name.” 

c. 1901 Mercedes 35 hp

From then on he was known as Emil Jellinek-Mercedes and signed his name as EJ Mercedes. The success of the 1900 35 hp Daimler-Mercedes, regarded as the first modern automobile, sent DMG sales soaring. On September 26, 1902 Mercedes was trademarked by DMG to be used on their entire automobile line. Emil passed away in 1918 in Switzerland.

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