Long before Wilhelm Maybach made an impact in the world of engineering, an idea had been captivating the great minds of the time: to create a vehicle that does not need horses or other external forces but propels itself, an ‘automobile’. However, the engines never were effective enough to turn this idea into reality. A first breakthrough was the Christian Reithmann patent from 1860 which set a new standard with its four-stroke operating principle. Though groundbreaking, these engines were too heavy and lacked power to be mobile. The actual breakthrough then came in 1883 when the first fast running combustion engine was developed by Wilhelm Maybach with the support of Gottlieb Daimler who was managing the business side of things. Two years later, after another evolution – the single-cylinder had shifted from the horizontal to the vertical – Wilhelm Maybach’s new, groundbreaking invention was finally perfected. His design became known as the grandfather clock, its compact construction combined with power and low weight made it a milestone in mobility as it was easily installed in a variety of vehicles.

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