Emil Jellinek-Mercedes born » 1853
Emil Jellinek, known after 1903 as Emil Jellinek-Mercedes (6 April 1853 – 21 January 1918) was a wealthy European automobile entrepreneur with Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft ('DMG'), responsible in 1900 for introducing the first 'modern' car, the Mercedes 35hp. Jellinek created the Mercedes trademark in 1902, naming the cars after his daughter, the trademark developed into the term Mercedes-Benz, and is now among the largest car brands in the world. Jellinek lived in Vienna, Austria but later moved to Nice on the French Riviera, where he was the General Consul of Austria-Hungary.
Jellinek was born in Leipzig, Germany, the son of Dr Adolf Jellinek (sometimes known also as Aaron Jellinek). His father was a well-known Czech-Hungarian rabbi and intellectual in the Jewish collective around Leipzig and Vienna. Jellinek's mother, Rosalie Bettelheim (born 1832 in Budapest, died 1892 in Baden bei Wien), was an active rebbitzen. He had two brothers, both of whom achieved fame: Max Hermann Jellinek as a linguist, and Georg Jellinek as an international law teacher. His sisters were Charlotte and Pauline.
The family moved, shortly after Jellinek's birth, to Vienna. He found paying attention to school work difficult and dropped out of several schools including Sonderhausen. His parents were displeased with his performance, while Jellinek began to indulge in practical jokes. In 1870, when he was 17, his parents found him a job as a clerk in a Moravian railway company, Rot-Koestelec North-Western. Jellinek lasted two years at this company before being sacked when the management discovered that he had been organising train races late at night.
The diplomat and businessman (1872 to 1893)
In 1872, when 19 years old, he moved to France. There, through his father's connections, Schmidl, the Austro-Hungarian Consul in Morocco, requested his services getting Jellinek diplomatic posts at Tangier and Tetouan successively. In Tetouan he met Rachel Goggmann Cenrobert, an African-born lady of French-Sephardi descent.
In 1874 he was called up for military service in Vienna but was declared unfit. He resumed his diplomatic career as Austrian vice-consul at Oran, Algeria and also began trading Algerian grown tobacco to Europe in partnership with Rachel's father.
He also worked as an inspector for the French Aigle insurance company and traveled to Vienna briefly in 1881 at the age of 28 to open one of its branch offices. Returning to Oran, he finally married Rachel, and their first two sons Adolph and Fernand were born there.
Two years later in 1884, Jellinek joined the insurance company full-time and moved with the family to Baden bei Wien, Austria, where they lived in the house of a wine dealer named Hanni. His first daughter, Mércédès Jellinek, was born in Baden on September 16, 1889; the name Mercédès means "favor", "kindness", "mercy", or "pardon" in Spanish. Rachel died 4 years later, and was buried in Nice. Even so, Jellinek came to believe the name Mercedes brought good fortune and called all his properties after it. One of his sons wrote: He was as superstitious as the ancient Romans.
Jellinek's insurance business and stock-market trading became very successful, and they started to spend the winters in Nice on the fashionable French Riviera, eventually moving there and establishing links with both international business people and the local aristocracy.
Helped by his diplomatic career, he became the Austrian Consul General in Nice and began selling automobiles, mainly French makes, to European aristocrats spending winter vacations in the region. Associated with the automobile business were Leon Desjoyeaux, from Nice, and C. L. “Charley” Lehmann, from Paris. He acquired a large mansion which he named Villa Mercedes to run the business from and by 1897 he was selling about 140 cars a year and started calling them Mercedes. The car business was by now more profitable than his insurance work.
It was in Nice that Jellinek became enthralled by the automobile, studying any information that he could gather about it and purchasing successively: a De Dion-Bouton, a Léon-Bollée Voiturette, both three-wheelers, and a four-seat Benz motorized-coach. Jellinek greatly admired automobile designer Wilhelm Maybach's work. He promised to buy a shipment of 36 automobiles for 550,000 goldmarks if Maybach could design a great race car for him following his specifications. The prototype was finished in December 1900 and, in 1901 went on to have a string of racing successes. Its engine was baptized Daimler-Mercedes.
In 1899 he married Madelaine Henriette Engler (Anaise Jellinek), and had four more children: Alain Didier, Guy, Rene and Andree (Maya).