What to Read Next

March 17: Gottlieb Daimler was born on this date in 1834

Justin Hyde
March 17, 2014

"Das Beste oder nichts," — the best or nothing at all — was a personal motto that Gottlieb Daimler lived by. Throughout his turbulent engineering career, Daimler often found himself at odds with bosses, investors and coworkers over his vision for personal transport. Born in the steam age, Daimler realized internal combustion engines were the future three decades before the first car was built. He and partner William Maybach constructed the first usable gasoline engine in 1885, mounting it to a bicycle to build the first motorcycle. The trademark drawing above shows just how far Daimler imagined his inventions spreading — to land, sea and air. Daimler died from heart problems in 1900, and the successor of his company bears his name today.