Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach and Carl Benz are among those who have granted their names to the house of The Three-Pointed Star. The name the world knows best, Mercedes, is also an eponym but its owner has lived in a more obscure corner of lore. The personal effects of Hans-Peter Schlosser include photos of his mother, one Mercedes Adrienne Ramona Manuela Jellinek, the woman whose name continues to launch a thousand 'ships' about every seven hours. Schlosser was Mercedes' son, and his keepsakes have wound their way to the Mercedes-Benz archives, which had been missing an informative record of the woman herself.

Mercedes was the daughter of German businessman and gentleman racer Emil Jellinek. One of his ventures was selling cars, and when he discovered Daimler and Maybach's car, the Phoenix, he worked up a brisk business and an even larger fortune selling them. Details on how the DMG Phoenix became a Mercedes are hazy, but Jellinek's inclination to name things after his daughter – like his yacht and all of his homes – would eventually work its way around to the cars he sold, raced and drove.

In fact, Emil so enjoyed the Mercedes name and good fortune he believed it brought that the entire family clan name was changed to Jellinek-Mercedes when Mercedes was 13. Yet a name wasn't the only contribution Jellinek made, pressing Daimler and Maybach to build racing cars even before the turn of the 20th century, saying, "Victories make you world-famous. People buy the winning brand, and always will. It would be commercial suicide to stay away from racing." Scroll down to read more on his contribution to the brand and the world of motoring.
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Legacy of brand eponym Mercedes Jellinek in the Daimler archive

- New light shed on the life of Mercedes Jellinek
- First photo of "Mercedes in a Mercedes"


Stuttgart, Jun 25, 2012 – Mercedes Jellinek sitting in a Mercedes: it may not appear so at first, but this recently discovered photo is a mini-sensation as, before it was found, there were no known photos of the lady who gave her name to the brand sitting in the world-famous car.The newly-added original Mercedes Jellinek material in the Daimler archive comes from the estate of her son, Hans-Peter Schlosser, who bequeathed his mother's personal photos and documents to his godchild living in Salzburg, since he had no children of his own. It includes three albums containing a total of around 300 photographs showing scenes from the previously little-known life of Mercedes Jellinek. The archive's newly acquired treasures include childhood pictures of Mercedes Jellinek, who was born in Vienna on 16 September 1889, as well as photos from her time as a young adult in Nice – on a yacht named Mercedes, on horseback and reading a book in a lounge. There are also wedding photos from her first marriage with the Viennese Baron Karl Schlosser from 1909 and family scenes with her two children: Elfriede (born 20 June 1912) and Hans-Peter (born 3 May 1916). Although not all of the photos are inscribed or dated, they afford an insight into the private life of the Mercedes brand's eponym – and into the life of a young, well-heeled lady at the dawn of the 20th century.

One of the newly acquired documents is a well-preserved birth certificate for "Mercedes Adrienne Ramona Manuela Jellinek", on which the changing of the family name to "Jellinek-Mercedes" authorised on 24 June 1903 can also be seen. Incidentally, this document confirms that Mercedes was the name entered on her birth certificate, whereas it was previously widely believed that Mercedes was "just" her father Emil Jellinek's pet name for her.

The marriage certificate for Mercedes Jellinek and Karl Freiherr von Schlosser is now also in the archive, as is her obituary notice; the lady who gave the Mercedes brand its name died before even reaching forty on 23 February 1929 in Vienna whilst married to her second husband Baron Rudolf Weigl – hence the entry "Mercedes Freifrau von Weigl, née Jellinek-Mercedes".

Further newly acquired items from the estate include a passport from 1927, on which it can be seen that the Austrian citizen had chestnut-brown hair and green eyes – details that were not apparent on black-and-white photos, and of which the public at least was previously unaware.

The estate has therefore provided a mini-sensation in the shape of the 'Mercedes in a Mercedes' photo as well as a host of details which help to shed more light on the history of the world-famous brand's eponym. After all had her father Emil Jellinek not been so besotted with his daughter, the Mercedes brand would presumably never have seen the light of day – and the "second coming" of the automobile could have been very different.

Background: Mercedes becomes a global brand with boundless charisma
When Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz invented the automobile independently of each other in 1886, excitement for this totally new kind of vehicle was initially somewhat muted in Germany. In Nice, however, well-known Austrian businessman Emil Jellinek was fascinated by the automobile right from the start. His first "big car", which showed him the way from the three-wheeler to the four-wheeled automobile, was a Benz Viktoria .

The car buff, then in his early forties, became aware of the company Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) in 1896 after reading a newspaper ad, whereupon he set off for Cannstatt in Germany to order two cars. Emil Jellinek was very demanding when it came to performance, electric ignition and many other aspects, always wanting the finest technology available at the time.

He was able to get all of this in Stuttgart. In 1897, the businessman started advertising Daimler cars to the highest echelons of society on the Côte d'Azur. Baron Rothschild and other high-profile personalities of the time bought the German cars from him. By the time Gottlieb Daimler died in 1900, Emil Jellinek had sold 34 cars in this way – no mean feat at that time.

On a personal level, too, the car inventor from Stuttgart and the sophisticated car salesman obviously hit it off, as Gottlieb Daimler invited Jellinek and daughter Mercedes to his villa in Taubenheimstrasse in Cannstatt many times. On these occasions, Jellinek introduced Mr Daimler to the idea of Daimler taking part in races and endurance tests with its own cars and under its own name. He finally convinced both him and the designer Wilhelm Maybach that the future of the automobile lay in speed and elegance. For him, speed was not about the attraction of being careless, rather the actual purpose of a motor vehicle: "If I can't get any more from a car than I would get from a horse and carriage, I might as well stick with the horse!"

A Daimler "Phoenix" 28 hp was made specially for him so he could enter a race event in Nice in 1899. There are two versions of events: the first describes how Emil Jellinek named the car he was driving there after his then ten-year-old daughter Mercedes; the second states that he registered for the race under the pseudonym Mr "Mercedes" – apparently deception was fairly common among racing drivers at that time: Baron Henry de Rothschild, for example, starts as Dr. Pascal. Daimler factory driver Wilhelm Bauer wins on Jellinek's "Phoenix" car the Nizza–Magagnosc–Nizza long-distance drive.

"We have entered the Mercedes era"
Towards the end of March 1900, catastrophe struck during Nice Speed Week: in the Nice–La Turbie hill climb, Wilhelm Bauer died after an accident in a Daimler "Phoenix" 23 hp registered as "Mercedes II". Co-driver Hermann Braun, who had already rolled over in the second registered car "Mercedes I" in the Nice–Marseille race, once again escaped without injury. The initial reaction from Stuttgart was to blame the excessive engine power for the accident, and to stay away from all high-speed driving in future.

However, Emil Jellinek managed to convince Wilhelm Maybach – Gottlieb Daimler had passed away shortly before this in early March 1900 – that the car's high centre of gravity was the reason behind the accident: "Victories make you world-famous. People buy the winning brand, and always will. It would be commercial suicide to stay away from racing," argued Jellinek.

DMG yielded to Jellinek's urgings and, in April 1900, decided to develop an all-new car with an all-new engine. Following Jellinek's suggestion, the new model series was to appear under the name "Daimler-Mercedes". The dealer pledged to take a complete series of 36 cars and ensure that the press in France, Germany, and Austria reported on the new vehicle.

The first new model, a Mercedes 35 hp racing car, was delivered to Jellinek on 22 December 1900. Developed by Wilhelm Maybach, it caused a sensation at the start of the century, as it was the world's most sophisticated car to date.

At the Nice Speed Week towards the end of March 1901, the Mercedes cars showed what they were made of: achieving four first places and five second places, the Daimler cars were a class apart – in the distance race, on the hill climb and in the mile-long sprint. French manufacturer Panhard & Levassor, which had achieved first place in all the events the previous year, withdrew its vehicles before racing commenced, prompting the General Secretary of the French Automobile Association to deliver a memorable line: "We have entered the Mercedes era." Up until then, the French were actually considered the better carmakers. By the end of 1901, however, American billionaires such as Rockefeller, Astor, Morgan, and Taylor had all bought powerful Mercedes 40 hp models.

The Mercedes-Benz Classic Archive and Collection
With age comes wisdom, and innovation is based on tradition: these values apply in particular to Mercedes-Benz Classic and its Archive and Collection departments. The archive, one of the largest economic archives in all of Europe, and most probably the most complete archive in the automotive industry, is a remembrance of a unique company, product and idea history, starting with the invention of the automobile in 1886. Its collections show the capability for visionary and constructive development as well as documenting a multi-facetted economic and social history.

Officially, the archive history begins 75 years ago with Administrative Instruction No. 1145 from the company then called Daimler-Benz Aktiengesellschaft (public limited company). It refers to a Management Board announcement on 9 December 1936, stating that engineer Max Rauck had been asked to "gather and inspect our historical written material and picture material, with the aim of creating and administering a historical archive." Rauck had already spent almost two years in-house sorting out material suitable for archiving at the request of the Management Board.

But the search for evidence of the company's history was and remains by no means easy. There are still a few surviving documents from Gottlieb Daimler's time, but documents relating to Benz & Cie are extremely thin on the ground. One exception is the collection of patents from Daimler-Benz AG and its predecessor companies: the oldest patents from Daimler and Benz, which can almost be considered the automobile's birth certificates, are now part of the archive.

The company archive contains documents and artefacts relating to the company's employees and history, while the product archive documents the history of passenger cars and commercial vehicles since the invention of the automobile by Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler.

The media archive contains around 3 million photographs from the very early years of automotive engineering right up to the present day. Then there is the large reference library containing some 10,000 books and 220 magazine titles, with the focus on automotive technology and economics. In addition to numerous books dealing with the Mercedes-Benz brand, Daimler AG and the companies that preceded it, there are also extensive works about general aspects of automotive and technological history.

Over and above all of this, the Mercedes-Benz Classic vehicle collection forms the basis for all automotive activities linked with the unique tradition of Mercedes-Benz. An in-house vehicle collection has been kept since 1921, and it now contains more than 900 vehicles, of which around 160 are exhibited in the Mercedes‑Benz Museum.

To this day, the archive team is committed to the increasingly important task of gathering and filing sources from various forms of media. This challenge is also relevant on a productive level, as the users are given tools with which they can extrapolate archive content using several different forms of media. For want of direct descendants, the legacy of Mercedes Jellinek is therefore in precisely the right place – the memories of the entire "Mercedes family".


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      David S.
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's amazing how long this story's been around, and yet it's still completely obscure trivia. Only thing that's changed this time is they've released good pics of her, and... yeah ok, she's homely. So what? You'd name a car company after your daughter if you could, too.
        A P
        • 2 Years Ago
        @David S.
        Its far more amazing that a car mag, out of the blue with no basis in context, would put this on their blog. Talk about propaganda! I can just see the decree coming down from Germany to the lacky autoblog press.: "Post a story that will make us seem like wonderful people instead of the nasty businesspeople we really are...."
          da.kid1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @A P
          German or not, if there's something related to the automotive world of course it's going to be posted here.On a side note, judging by your repplies, we've just found our next troll!
          Darren McLellan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @A P
          WTF is your problem? It called history. Ever heard of it?
      suthrn2nr
      • 2 Years Ago
      awesome article, I'm not a Mercedes-Benz enthusiast but I always appreciate automotive history, especially about people who wanted to build great cars.
      Betty Jellinek
      • 2 Months Ago

      It's kinda cool sharing the same last name!

      A P
      • 2 Years Ago
      How much ass kissing can the auto mag industry do to German auto makers? They try to find the dumbest thing to talk about and then tell us how great it is. It is getting revolting. The Germans jingle their advertising purse and the auto mags fall all over themselves licking ass. They dont even pretend to be fair anymore.
        Blue Pariah
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A P
        If you are even a remote fan of the auto, you'd be interested in the history of the industry -- especially the guys that were there on the ground level. Like them or not, the Germans played a huge role in the foundation of the auto as the primary form of conveyance after the turn of the 20th century. So take 15 minutes out of your WOW guild and learn some history for once. You never know, it make you less of a condescending troll filled with anger.
          A P
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Blue Pariah
          Missed the point as usual. How many stories like this are there on say, Walter P Chrysler or Henry Ford or Harvey Firestone or ANY American industrialist? Why dont YOU take even 1 minute to see what the truth is......duh. The magazines only sing the praises of European car makers, ignoring all others because of the massive influx of German advertising dollars. Take a look and maybe you will be less of a shill.
        th0mb0ne
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A P
        I thought it was a neat little story. I always wondered who she was....although now that I see the photos, I kind of wish I didn't. She looked better in my mind.
        Darren McLellan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @A P
        So, bad experience with a German car eh? Seem to have a bit of a grudge.Seem to think every one needs to follow your, less than admirable, mind set. Once you wipe the spittle up and type like a grown up, let us know what the problem is? And spare us the Walter Chrysler et al. Try to make rational sentences that make a point. Kay?
      avconsumer2
      • 2 Years Ago
      She must have been quite a woman. If you're interested in the women of Daimler-Benz - also wiki Bertha Benz, Karl's wife. She... to put it mildly... was 28 flavors of bad-ass. Pioneered numerous technical achievements and basically invented the "road trip".... I like to imagine she said the German equivalent of "Oh just give me the damn keys!" (though there were obviously no "keys" per se) excerpt from her 66 mile adventure... "On the way, she solved numerous problems. She had to find ligroin as a fuel, which was available only at apothecary shops so she stopped in Wiesloch at the city pharmacy to purchase the fuel. A blacksmith had to help mend a chain at one point. Brakes needed to be repaired, in doing so Bertha Benz invented brake lining. She also had to use a long, straight hairpin to clean a fuel pipe, which had become blocked, and to insulate a wire with a garter. She left Mannheim around dawn and reached Pforzheim somewhat after dusk, notifying her husband of her successful journey by telegram. She drove back to Mannheim the next day." INVENTED BRAKE LINING on the FIRST ROAD TRIP. That's nuts. Hats off to you Jellinek & Bertha. First Ladies of the auto as far as I'm concerned.
      ShutoSteve
      • 2 Years Ago
      This article is silly - because it doesn't illustrate why Mercedes Benz is called "Mercedes" Benz, just where it came from. Emil was a car dealer - one of the first in the world. He was also a racer, who had amassed a great fortune selling mechanical machines to merchants and such. He made an offer with Karl Benz to invest a healthy sum of his fortune into Karl Benz's car company, but only if in return Mr. Benz put his daughters name on the grille. Mr. Benz agreed, and that is why the cars are what they're called today. Without the financial aid of Emil, Benz may very well have fallen into bankruptcy, which could have ended the "car" before it had even begun. Keep in mind, at this time, the majority of people looked at cars as a nuisance and a useless piece of machinery. That's the reason why "Mercedes" still lingers in the title of the cars today. For without Emil, there may never have been a car, let alone a Mercedes Benz, to begin with.
        约更
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ShutoSteve
        Im sorry, but Your story is not true. Jelinek was Embassador of the Austrian Empire, and as being this he did sell cars overseas as a hobby. He exported cars to Saudi Arabia and then to the USA when he was Embassador there. Due to racing cars in his freetime he gave his racecars the names of his daughters, there was also another name beside Mercedes. Other racers called there cars names like Newton, he preferred the names of his daughters. He had some influence to Karl Benz, for instance he did ask him to make the cars lower, so he can race curves faster. If he did invest money into Benz I dont know. You must know he was a noble, nobles did not work or make money, they have "hobbies" When he realized that the name Mercedes become popular to the people, he called his exports "Mercedes", what later Benz did to all cars in the same thinking, realising a car called Mercedes, sells better.
      Ducman69
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'd hit it.
      natron3030
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dead sexy.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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