Our History

Inspired by the achievements of Wilhelm and Karl Maybach, the Foundation’s work honors and builds forward the many inspirations of their combined achievements. Wilhelm Maybach, who tragically lost his parents at age ten, was raised in a progressive orphanage in Germany where his math and drawing skills caught the eye of his teachers and changed the path he had begun to be a baker.  As an engineering student his natural skill was soon spotted by his industrial arts instructor, Gottlieb Daimler, who became his mentor and later his business partner. With Daimler’s support, Maybach developed a revolutionary internal combustion engine that began an engineering revolution and quickly launched the modern automotive era.  Through the creation of an alternative to the previously ubiquitous steam-powered locomotive, the internal combustion engine fundamentally changed the world of transportation.

DEPATISnet database of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office
DEPATISnet database of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office

Along with his son, Karl, Wilhelm established the Maybach Motorworks in Friedrichshafen, a small industrial town on Lake Constance in southern Germany. There, the father-son duo began designing and producing cutting-edge engines for train, boat, cars and airplane companies, including the Deutsche Bundesbahn and Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH.

Renamed MTU in 1969, Irmgard Schmid-Maybach, daughter of Karl, continued the family’s commitment and remains an honorary member of the Board of Directors. Ultra-luxury vehicles are again produced by Daimler AG under the Mercedes-Maybach brand to this day.

The Maybach family remains committed to enhancing, celebrating and sharing their heritage and tradition of innovation, through its museum and archive project, mobile educational outreach and design excellence for the next generation of technical innovators.

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