Maybach, Wilhelm

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b. 9 February 1846 Heilbronn, Württemberg, Germany
d. 14 December 1929 Stuttgart, Germany
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German engineer and engine designer, inventor of the spray carburettor.
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Orphaned at the age of 10, Maybach was destined to become one of the world's most renowned engine designers. From 1868 he was apprenticed as a draughtsman at the Briiderhaus Engineering Works in Reurlingen, where his talents were recognized by Gottlieb Daimler, who was Manager and Technical Director. Nikolaus Otto had by then developed his atmospheric engine and reorganized his company, Otto \& Langen, into Gasmotorenfabrik Deutz, of which he appointed Daimler Manager. After employment at a machine builders in Karlsruhe, in 1872 Maybach followed Daimler to Deutz where he worked as a partner on the design of high-speed engines: his engines ran at up to 900 rpm, some three times as fast as conventional engines of the time. Maybach made improvements to the timing, carburation and other features. In 1881 Daimler left the Deutz Company and set up on his own as a freelance inventor, moving with his family to Bad Cannstatt; in April 1882 Maybach joined him as Engineer and Designer to set up a partnership to develop lightweight high-speed engines suitable for vehicles. A motor cycle appeared in 1885 and a modified horse-drawn carriage was fitted with a Maybach engine in 1886. Other applications to small boats, fire-engine pumps and small locomotives quickly followed, and the Vee engine of 1890 that was fitted into the French Peugeot automobiles had a profound effect upon the new sport of motor racing. In 1895 Daimler won the first international motor race and the same year Maybach became Technical Director of the Daimler firm. In 1899 Emil Jellinek, Daimler agent in France and also Austro-Hungarian consul, required a car to compete with Panhard and Levassor, who had been victorious in the Paris-Bordeaux race; he wanted more power and a lower centre of gravity, and turned to Maybach with his requirements, the 35 hp Daimler- Simplex of 1901 being the outcome. Its performance and road holding superseded those of all others at the time; it was so successful that Jellinek immediately placed an order for thirty-six cars. His daughter's name was Mercedes, after whom, when the merger of Daimler and Benz came about, the name Mercedes-Benz was adopted.
In his later years, Maybach designed the engine for the Zeppelin airships. He retired from the Daimler Company in 1907.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Society of German Engineers Grashof Medal (its highest honour). In addition to numerous medals and titles from technical institutions, Maybach was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Stuttgart Institute of Technology.
Further Reading
F.Schidberger, Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach and Karl Benz, Stuttgart: Daimler Benz AG.
1961, The Annals of Mercedes-Benz Motor Vehicles and Engines, 2nd edn, Stuttgart: Daimler Benz AG.
E.Johnson, 1986, The Dawn of Motoring.
KAB / IMcN

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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