From plumber's apprentice to engineer
The roots of Porsche's company history lie in Bohemia where Ferdinand Porsche was born on 3 September 1875 in Maffersdorf, as the third child of Anton Porsche and his wife Anna. When the automobile was invented Ferdinand Porsche was 11 years old. He was particularly interested in electricity and at age 13 he installed electric doorbells at his parents' house and at 16 added electric lighting.
Inventor of the electric wheel-hub motor
Following his plumbing apprenticeship in his father's business, Ferdinand Porsche's abilities and his interest in technology led him to begin his career at the Vereinigten Elektrizitätswerke of Bela Egger & Co in Vienna. Shortly before the turn of the century he went to work for Jacob Lohner, purveyor to the Austrian royal court. With the development of the wheel-hub engine he astonished the automobile world at the Paris Salon in 1900 by presenting a vehicle that could be propelled by all four wheels: the world's first all-wheel drive car. A construction principle which was employed by NASA 70 years later in the design of the lunar rover. The world's first hybrid car - a vehicle powered by petrol and electricity - also originated from Ferdinand Porsche.
His children, Louise and Ferry
In 1906, Ferdinand Porsche, now the married father of one daughter, Louise (* 1904), switched to Austro Daimler in Wiener Neustadt, where, three years later, his son, Ferry (* 1909), was born.
Ingenious design engineer
In his 17 years of continuous work for the large Austrian industrial company, which he later headed as General Director, he developed the first aerodynamically-shaped, high-performance limousines (winning - with himself behind the wheel - the famous Prince Heinrich Tour). While there he also built trucks and the Landwehr train for the Emperor's army designed to travel on both roadways and railroad tracks, designed aircraft engines (for which he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Vienna) and after the First World War built the first two-seater sports car, the "Sascha," which took first place in the Targa Florio road race.
In 1923 Ferdinand Porsche moved to Stuttgart to become Technical Director at Daimler, where he assumed responsibility for the development of the famous S, SS and SSK models, while also helping to develop truck and aero-engines, etc. When his contract expired, he returned to Austria where he at first worked as General Director of Steyr. In 1931 Porsche went into business for himself, starting his own design company in Stuttgart.