Why is a 3-pointed star the Mercedes emblem?

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The Mercedes-Benz star is erected atop the building that housed its Hollywood dealership in 1960 | Daimler AG photo

The 3-pointed star within a circle is immediately recognized as the emblem of Mercedes-Benz, but have you ever wondered why the company selected that design?

According to a news release from Daimler, the emblem traces to a postcard that Gottlieb Daimler marked with the star emblem to show the location of the family’s home when he was technical director at the Deutz gas-engine factory in the 1870s.

Daimler’s sons, Paul and Adolf, adapted the star as the symbol for the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft and Benz & Cie. in 1909, with the three rays of the star representing the fact that their father had used his engines in cars, ships and aircraft.

The emblem evolved over the years, sometimes with the circle shown as a ring gear, sometimes with the word “Mercedes” or “Benz” within the circle as well.

In 1925, just before the merger of Daimler and Benz, the circle became a laurel wreath to celebrate victories in auto racing. The 3-pointed star within a circle became the badge on Mercedes-Benz vehicles in 1926.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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