Nation on the March

Nation on the March
Nation on the March

May 2, 2010

How about asking a car company to give your daughter's name to it! ( The Mercedes story )

In 1901,
The darling daughter
of a loyal customer.
the darling of all car lovers.

This endearing tale is in quick succession to yesterday’s blog post on Buick of USA.

Year: 1901. Venue: Europe

Just three characters. (Can I be brief to give the  short and sweet lingering effect like a Haiku?)

One, Daimler Car Co of Germany.

Two. A rich Austrian banker. Emile Jellinik (1853-1918). Fond of owning quality cars and also racing. Somewhat shy? May be. Because he participated in car races under a shadow or alias name Monsieur Mercedes! But demanding. He was a Jew. Father was a Rabbi. Would not properly study. Got a job as railway clerk when 17 yrs but was sacked two years later – for running train races in the night.

Orders cars with engines in front! Ever heard of it? No. But his logic was that the horse carriages also had the horses in front. So custom build the car fro me. Easy for him to dictate his terms. Because he was just not wealthy but a big dealer Daimler car company. He made the Daimler cars so successful in Europe that manpower strength at Daimler factory increased seven times in four years!

Imagine who designed the car for him?

Two gentlemen : Maybach & Daimler ! ( One Maybach car that Mukesh Ambani uses cost him Rs.5.25 crores in 2006)

Also I want the car to be uniquely named, just for me. After my 11 year old darling daughter.

Three. Adrienne Manuela Ramona Jellinik. Daddy’ darling. Sweet name. Daddy called her Mercédès, the name Mercédès meaning "gifts" or "favors" in Spanish. He found her to be lucky for him & named all his properties also Mercedes. He was also a car dealer, selling 140 cars a year in 1897 and called all of them Mercedes!

Reading about Daimler car  Co in newspaper, Jellinik traveled in 1896 to visit it. He was a wealthy Austrian businessman and later became a director on Daimler Car co’s Board. , In 1900, he wanted a car to be specially built for him engine in front , an unusual placement at the time, because “that was where the horse used to be.” He was a visionary and asked  Daimler to remember : "I don't want a car for today or tomorrow, it will be the car of the day after tomorrow". 

The car was to be  named for Jellinik’s 11-year old daughter, Mercedes Adrienne Manuela Ramona Jellinik.

The story ended sadly on all fronts: 

  • In 1908 his dealership was cancelled by Daimler, fed up by his temperament. He would call them “ donkeys”, incompetent”, & what not.
  • Emile Jellinik would die in 1926  in prison in World War I, accused of being an Austrian spy. 
  • Mercedes Jellinik also died in 1929 at the age of 40 , impoverished after two failed, scandalous marriages.

But is it not better to remember the trio fondly for whatever nice had happened? For example:
1.      After 1903 her father was better known as 
Emile Jellinik-Mercedes 
& signed as E.J Mercedes

2.      In 1902- Daimler adopted Mercedes Benz 
as its own brand name.

Daddy Jellinik’s famous quote (Oct 1900) should inspire us even after a century : 

"Miracles are expected from those who are capable of making them."

  (Sorrrry folks, the haiku got stretched!!)