Wilhelm Maybach, German inventor and motor car designer, c 1900.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Wilhelm Maybach (1846-1929) joined Gottlieb Daimler (1834-1900) as a draughtsman and went on to become his partner in 1882. In 1883, he devised the float- feed carburettor, a crucial development in the design of high speed petrol engines intended for use in motor cars. Following further engine improvements for the Daimler firm, Maybach left their employ in 1907, and in 1909 he established his own company at Friedrichshafen, designing and producing engines for Zeppelin airships.