Daimler and Voith

Technology Unites: Adventures By Car and Boat

The Friends Gottlieb Daimler and Friedrich Voith

The World's First Vehicle Breakdown

They are the pioneers of their time. Together they survive events fit for the cinema: Gottlieb Daimler and Friedrich Voith are passionate tinkerers. The two young men meet during their studies at Stuttgart Technical University and become close friends. Be it on land with the first automobile or on the waters in a motor boat - the two adventurers are in a constant battle with the limits of technology. But that does not stop them.

The year is 1890. Gottlieb Daimler is visiting the Voith family in Heidenheim. The gentlemen decide to go for an automobile ride to Königsbronn, some ten kilometers away. Other members of the party are a Daimler mechanic and the junior of the Voith family: Hanns. But after only three kilometers, the horse-less motorcar breaks down in Schnaitheim. The spectacle attracts many onlookers from the village, nosily inspecting the unusual vehicle and its perplexed passengers. The gentlemen are unlikely to get to Königsbronn today.

Boat Trip with Obstacles

Three years later, in 1893, another event occurs, this time with a different transport medium. The Voith family spend their summer vacation on the Swiss side of Lake Constance. One sunny day, they set out for a trip on Gottlieb Daimler's open motor boat. On board are nearly all members of the Voith family, friends from Stuttgart and, of course, the engineer Daimler. Friedrich Voith steers the boat into Lake Constance. He wants to explore a spot he has not seen yet. Suddenly the vessel grinds to a halt - it has become stuck in the gravel of the lake.

But the gentlemen know what to do. They disrobe down to their undergarments and step into the water. The boat does not move , although everybody is pulling and dragging vigorously. In the meantime, the sun has disappeared and a thunderstorm is brewing. But rescue arrives in this hour of need: a fisherman takes the soaking wet party safely on land in his rowing boat.

"We had to endure the immense interest and the corresponding remarks of the entire village population."

From the memoirs of Hanns Voith

"Soon the boat became stuck in the rubble and did not move. After a little humming and hawing, the ladies were asked to cover their eyes, while the three stout, distinguished gentlemen Daimler, the court architect from Stuttgart and my father got into the water in their underpants, trying to pull and drag the ship from the outside - sadly without success."

From the memoirs of Hanns Voith

With the Automobile to the Heiligenberg

It takes until 1908 before Friedrich Voith completes the first successful family excursion in an automobile. The sons Hermann and Hanns want to surprise their father. They arrive outside the country house at Lake Constance in a hired burgundy-red 40 HP Mercedes car. To ensure that nothing goes wrong this time, they even employ a chauffeur for their father. And the driver takes him safely to the castle of the Count of Fürstenberg on the Heiligenberg. At last Friedrich Voith is able to enjoy a trouble-free pleasure trip.