Memorabilia – Mercedes-Benz’s three-pointed star

FMM assistant curator Cheslynne Ruiters takes a look behind one of the motoring world’s most famous badges…

One emblem that has come to represent quality, innovation and tradition in the automotive industry is Mercedes-Benz’s three-pointed star. This iconic design has adorned the frontage of M-B’s vehicles for a hundred years, as well as appearing on many personal accessories carried by enthusiasts. It came in 1909 after DMG founder Gottlieb Daimler’s sons Paul and Adolf recalled an 1872 picture postcard sent by their father to their mother with a three-pointed star marking the location of his house in Germany. Gottlieb wrote that one day the star would shine over his factory and bring prosperity. DMG trade-marked the star as the company logo, later explaining that it represented the company’s “drive toward universal motorisation with its engines dominating the land, sea, and air (three points)”.


The star evolved over time and by 1916 the three points were encircled, with four smaller stars on an outer brand, and either the Mercedes Benz name or the name of the two Daimler plants beneath. Another change came in 1921, when the radiator and later bonnet emblem was surrounded by a ring. In 1925, the current versions of the star and the laurel wreath were combined to create the new badge for the Mercedes-Benz brand. On 28 June 1926 when Benz & Cie formally merged with Daimler to create Daimler-Benz AG, it was decided that the brand name Mercedes-Benz would be used on all the automobiles manufactured thereafter. In 1933 Mercedes-Benz then registered a streamlined form of the emblem comprising a slim, black circlet in which the black silhouette of the Mercedes star could be seen. Today the three-pointed star is displayed as either a stand-up bonnet ornament or a badge embedded in the grille.