Mercedes was a brand of the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) which began to develop in 1900, after the death of its co-founder, Gottlieb Daimler. Although the name was not lodged as a trade name until June 23, 1902 and had to wait until September 26 to be registered legally, the brand name eventually would be applied to an automobile model built by Wilhelm Maybach to specifications by Emil Jellinek that was delivered to him on December 22, 1900. By Jellinek’s contract, the new model contained a newly designed engine designated as, Daimler-Mercedes. This engine name is the first instance of the use of the name, Mercedes, by DMG. The automobile model would later be called, the Mercedes 35 hp.
An automobile dealer and racing enthuiast, Jellinek had been racing DMG automobiles on which he had the name—Mércédès—painted for good luck after his daughter, Mércédès Jellinek. Later he contracted with DMG for a small series of dedicated sports cars containing an engine that officially bore his daughter’s name. He raced them very successfully, gaining recognition that increased interest in customers and Jellinek was placed on the board of directors of DMG. This model was a significant advancement in the history of automobiles. The model was released for sale in 1901 under the name of Mercedes 35 hp and, because of the success of the model, DMG began to apply the name as a series to other models such as, Mercedes 8/11 hp and Mercedes 40 hp Simplex. Jellinek seems to have become obsessed with the name and even had his name changed to Jellinek-Mercedes. Maybach quit DMG in 1907 and started up his own business.
The name, Mercedes, later was used to represent DMG in another new brand name, Mercedes-Benz, created in 1926 when it was applied to all vehicles produced by the new company, Daimler-Benz AG, resulting from the merger of Benz & Cie. and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft in that year. The last name of Karl Benz was retained in the new brand, but since DMG had sold exclusive licences to foreign companies, they couldn’t use the name of their founder, Daimler, legally in all countries and decided to use the name of their most popular model. Since Jellinek was a member of the board of directors by the time of the merger, the name was promoted for continued good luck to the new company.