|On 16th September 1889, a third child was born
to businessman Emil Jellinek in Vienna. Rachel and Emil Jellinek gave their daughter a
Spanish Christian name which means "grace" and later became world-famous:
Mercedes. Emil Jellinek moved his operations to Nice, taking his family with him. As
Mercedes grew up, her father developed a passionate interest in automobiles, then in their
infancy, and it was not long before the Daimler-Motoren Gesellschaft caught his attention.
In 1893, Emil Jellinek travelled to Cannstatt and made the acquaintance of Gottlieb
Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach. In the years which followed he bought a number of Daimler
vehicles. In 1898,Jellinek ordered a Daimler Phoenix, requesting it to be delivered with a
four-cylinder engine. He then drove the car in the Tour de Nice.
Since it was chic at
the time to enter automobile competitions under a pseudonym, Jellinek appeared in the
competitors' lists under the name Mercedes. Emil Jellinek, alias "Monsieur
Mercedes", first won the Tour de Nice on 21st March 1899, when his daughter was just
nine and a half years old.
In 1900, the Daimler-Motoren Gesellschaft again improved on the design, by enlarging
the wheelbase, lowering the centre of gravity and increasing engine power. Emil Jellinek
was so taken with this design that he put in an order for thirty-six cars, worth 550,000
gold marks. He made his order subject to two conditions: firstly he must be made sole
agent in Austria-Hungary, France and America. Secondly, the vehicles must be named after
his daughter, Mercedes. The name caught on so well that soon the Daimler-Motoren
Gesellschaft used it for all its cars and in 1902, a trademark was taken out. The
"Mercedes" era had begun.