Mercedes museum - innovation and history
We spent this morning at the Mercedes Museum, which could have easily been a full day stop. It is a huge museum, compared to Porsche, and once you walk through the very lengthy history of this firm, you can see why.
The start of it all, the single cylinder "grandfather-clock" engine:
This engine was invented in 1886 and truly was the start of it all - non-steam powered transportation. Daimler saw this propelling almost anything and everything - boats, cycles, small train cars, even flying machines (dirigibles in this case):
Thus technology was applied to many practical and some impractical applications. It's size and weight was small enough that it could be slapped onto almost anything to make it move. Below is one of its early applications - a 3-wheeled automobile from Benz.
It was this vehicle that resulted in the patent below:
And so the automobile came to be. We always think of Ford when we think of the early beginnings of the automobile, but it was Daimler's engine and Benz' use of that engine combined. To be fair, each invented the automobile - in slightly different shapes and forms - at roughly the same time. Both brought elements to the table.
The exhibit space is large, stylish. The number and quality of the vehicles is impressive. The long history of the brand, along with the strong racing roots, is well documented and displayed.
One thing I found surprising, although now it seems obvious, was the use of forced labour by the company in WWII.
We often forget that most manufacturing to support the Reich during that period used forced labour. Instead of just glossing over this fact, the exhibit is very open about it, in a respectful matter-of-fact way of course.
And how's this for a KPI?