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The company was founded in 1864 under the name N.A. Otto & Cie in Cologne as the first engine factory in the world. The founding fathers were the business man, Nicolaus August Otto, who had the technical ideas, and the owner of a sugar factory, Eugen Langen, who made the necessary investments to start up the company.
Motorization of the world started in Cologne with the invention of the four stroke engine by Otto in 1876. Through fusions with other companies the Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz AG (KHD) was established in 1938. In 1996 the shareholders of the company decided to rename the company to DEUTZ AG.

1861: On January 2nd the brothers Wilhelm and Nicolaus August Otto submit their patent application for a fuel vaporiser to  the Ministry of Trade in Berlin. However this application was rejected because this process had already been known. In the same year Otto experimented with a reproduction of the Lenoir engine. Accidentally, Otto recognises the value of the compression of the fuel air mixture before the burning. The idea of the four stroke procedure was born.

1863: Tests of the first atmospheric gas engine. Several domestic and international patents for this construction are gained. Establishment of a private workshop in Cologne's street Gereonswall 61.

1864: Foundation of the N.A. Otto & Cie as the first engine factory in the world and the beginning of the today's DEUTZ AG by Nicolaus August Otto and Eugen Langen on March 31st (with a workshop in Cologne's street Servasgasse 1865).

1868: Start of the large-scale series production of atmospheric gas power machines. Delivery of three atmospheric gas engine to the USA.

1869: The Crossley Brothers in Manchester manufacture the atmospheric gas engine under license and start the production of the in England. Increasing order receipts led to expansion of the factory. New capital is invested by the businessman Roosen-Runge from Hamburg. The new factory is built on right side of the Rhein in Cologne-Deutz. Change of name to Langen, Otto & Roosen.

1872: Additional extension of the factory and foundation of the Gasmotoren-Fabrik Deutz AG (GFD) company. Gottlieb Daimler was hired and became engineering director and Wilhelm Maybach joined the company as the head of the tracer department.

1876: Nicolaus August Otto completes the design for the four stroke engine with compression, which runs with all fuels and for in diverse fields. This with refinement of the town gas fuelled engine laid the foundations of the motorization of the world starting from Cologne.

1877: The four stroke process is protected by the patent DRP 532. The Crossley Brothers from Manchester also build the four stroke engine under license. Foundation of the company Schleicher, Schumm & Co in Philadelphia as a branch of Gasmotoren-Fabrik Deutz with the goal to build engines in the USA. Start of the large-scale distribution of four stroke engines. The board of advisors decides to name them „Ottos neuer Motor„ (Otto’s new engine).

1882: Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach left the Company. Otto is conferred the honour of Dr. Phil. Honoris Causa by the philosophical faculty of University of Würzburg. After a production of 2649 atmospheric gas power machines the production ends.

1884: Until this year all engines have been fuelled with town gas and therefore dependent on the public gas network supply. For the usage of liquid fuels there isn't a suitable ignition invented yet. The usage of the gas flame ignition doesn't work for gasoline engines. N.A. Otto develops the low voltage magnetic ignition. This electro-magnetic ignition system will be used by Robert Bosch and will be the basis for his life’s work.

1891: Nicolaus August Otto dies on January, 26th in his house at Cologne’s Heumarkt square with the age of 59. He is laid to rest in Cologne's Melaten cemetery. 

1892: Rudolf Diesel offers the acquisition of his diesel system to the Gasmotoren-Fabrik Deutz AG. GFD declines to accept. Start of the production of locomotives with internal combustion engine. Delivery of the first Deutz-locomotive to the chemical factory Radebeul. 

1894: The successor of Schleicher the „The Otto-Gas-Engine-Works AG„ in Philadelphia starts to manufacture locomotives powered by Otto engines. 

1896: First Deutz mining locomotive with internal combustion engine in the world. 

1897: License agreement between the Gasmotoren-Fabrik AG, Maschinenfabrik Augsburg and Krupp to build diesel engines.

1901: GFD cancelled the license agreement with Maschinenfabrik Augsburg and Krupp. 

1906: Peter Klöckner was appointed to the board of advisors of Gasmotoren-Fabrik Deutz AG. 

1907: The diesel patent phased out. Start of the mass production of diesel engines at GFD. Ettore Bugatti is hired to prepare the car manufacturing. The subsidiary in Berlin was chosen to be transformed into a car factory. Under Bugatti’s supervision a couple of cars had been built in Cologne. However Bugatti leaves the GFD 1909 and founds his own company in Molsheim. In 1912 the production of Deutz-Bugatti cars ended. 

1911: First airless injection Deutz diesel engine.

1914: 50th anniversary. Production of engines totalling 90,000 hp. Employees: 4,100.

1921: Merger agreement with the Motorenfabrik Oberursel AG and renaming of the company to "Motorenfabrik Deutz AG".

1926: First Deutz diesel tractor mass production.

1930: Merger of Motorenfabrik Deutz AG with the mechanical engineering company Maschinenbauanstalt Humboldt AG (founded 1856) and with the Motorenfabrik Oberursel AG (founded 1892) to become „Humboldt-Deutzmotoren AG„.

1936: Acquisition of the vehicle factory C.D. Magirus AG in Ulm

1938: Change of the company’s name to „Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz AG„ (KHD) on the initiative of Peter Klöckner. KHD (steel processing) together with the sister company in steel production, Klöckner & Co. (steel trade) was an integrated group.

1944: Start of the mass production of air cooled engines in Ulm. Tough destruction caused by World War II made production almost impossible. At the end of World War II 74 % of the plants in Cologne had been destroyed.

1945: The reconstruction of the destroyed plants started. The Allies allowed imported production equipment.

1946: Approval to produce 500 farm tractors.

1949: Resumption of the production of diesel engines and start of the mass production of air cooled diesel engines in the Deutz plant.

1950: Five years after world war 2 the production reached normal level under the post war circumstances.: Employees: 13,000, Production: 40,000 engines with altogether 1,5 million hp, 10,000 tractors and crawler tractors, 6,000 commercial vehicles, Turnover: 300 million DM.
Moreover the first trainees graduate, 60 % of the buildings are used, Humboldt business unit builds mayor parts of the Mülheim bridge in Cologne and the first employees’ paper is issued.

1951: The last of the 19,000 tractors F1M 414 with water cooled engines is produced. From now on Deutz tractors are powered by air cooled diesel engines. The 50,000th tractor since the start in 1926 is produced.  

1953: Annulment of the Merger agreement with Klöckner-Werke AG from Duisburg. Start of the chain tractor production.

1954: Modernisation of the plant in Deutz. The 100,000th air cooled Deutz diesel engine is produced.

1959: Acquisition of "Vereinigte Westdeutsche Waggonfabriken AG", a producer of railroad cars. Start of the production of air and industry gas turbines in the plant Oberursel.

1961: New farm tractor plant in Cologne-Kalk.

1964: 100th anniversary of the company. The Magirus logo becomes the company’s logo. A computer system is established. The turnover is 1.6 billion DM. The number of employees is 32,000.

1968: Acquisition of the mechanical engineering company FAHR AG from Gottmadingen.

1969: Acquisition of the majority of WEDAG Westfalia Dinnendahl Gröppel AG from Bochum. Acquisition of Ködel & Böhm GmbH from Lauingen.

1970: After a production of approximately 20,000 locomotives in the power range from 4 to 2,400 hp since 1892 the last locomotives are produced.  

1971: Acquisition of the company „Voerde„ (Dinslaken area) for the production of large sized engines.

1972: 500,000th tractor since the start of production in 1926.

1973: Acquisition of the WEDAG Westfalia Dinnendahl Gröppel AG.

1974: End of the crawler tractor production. Since 1953 more than 15,000 chain tractors had been produced. Contract of one billion DM from Soviet Union: KHD delivers 10,000 heavy commercial vehicles with air cooled Deutz diesel engines. Foundation of Magirus Deutz AG. This was part of a co-operation agreement in the commercial vehicle segment between KHD and the Italian FIAT (Turin).

1975: Contribution of the KHD business unit Magirus Deutz AG in the company IVECO which has been established together with FIAT.

1978: 500,000th air cooled Deutz diesel engine from production plant Ulm.

1980: Sale of KHD’s IVECO stock to Fiat.

1983: 1,500,000th air cooled Deutz diesel engine of the engine family FL612 to FL913 produced in Cologne.

1984: 4,000,000th Deutz engine since the start of the engine production in 1876. Closing of the foundry in Stockach.

1985: Acquisition of Motoren-Werke Mannheim AG (MWM). Acquisition of the agricultural equipment field of the Allis-Chalmer Corporation, Milwaukee/Wisconsin and foundation of the Deutz-Allis-Corporation, Milwaukee/ Wisconsin.

1986: Closing of the large-size engine plant in Voerde and transfer of it’s production to Mannheim. Foundation of the KHD Propulsion and Air Technology GmbH and the KHD Agricultural Technology GmbH as business development companies. Foundation of the MWM Diesel- and Gastechnology GmbH, Mannheim.

1987: Modernisation of the tractor production plant in Cologne-Kalk. First year of losses. Start of the restructuring process. Concentration on the field of diesel engines, agricultural equipment and industrial plants. Closing of the plant in Bochum.

1988: Sale of the steelworks in Isselburg. Start of the production of the new engine family B/FL 1011. Sale of the agricultural equipment plant in Gottmadingen to the Greeland NV.

1989: 125th anniversary. The first year in which extraordinary Diplomarbeiten (final thesis diploma work) get a prize. The prize has a purpose to support junior workers in the spirit of the company’s founding fathers Nicolaus August Otto and Eugen Langen. The prize is issued to graduates from the departments business administration, economics and engineering. 400,000th air cooled diesel engine since start of the production in Cologne. Sale of Deutz Argentina S.A., Buenos Aires. Sale of Deutz-Allis Corporation/USA on December 31st. New companies in the industrial plant division: Humboldt Prezeßautomation GmbH, Cologne, GSE Gesellschaft für Schlamm- und Abwasserentsorgung mbH, Cologne, Humboldt Decanter Inc., Atlanta, Gautschi-Penta Inc., Charlotte/USA and Humboldt Wedag Espana SA, Madrid.

1990: Extensive program to renew the company. Development of new engine families, tractors and industrial plants. Sale of the KHD-Luftfahrttechnik GmbH (air technology) in Oberursel. Acquisition of the Alkenbrecher group, Wesseling, which installs and does the service for industrial plants.

1991: The new KHD organisation is developed: The operative business units are transformed into 100 % subsidiaries which are independent. KHD AG is to be the executive holding company.

1992: The new organisation structure is implemented. Nine statutory independent companies under the umbrella of KHD AG are responsible for the operational businesses. 1,000,000th Deutz tractors since begin of the production in 1926. Start of the mass production of the new liquid cooled diesel engines B/FM 1012 and 1013.

1993: On June, 2nd the new production plant in Cologne-Porz is officially put into production. It is one of the most modern plants of it’s kind in the world. The investment of approximately 600 million DM is the biggest single investment in KHD’s company history.

1995: Sale of KHD Agrartechnik GmbH (tractors), Cologne, and Deutz-Fahr Erntesysteme GmbH (harvester, straw presses), Lauingen, to the Italian SAME group. Fire at Deutz Service International: In the night from 24th to 25th December 1995 a fire destroyed buildings with replacement parts and some office buildings with an area of 15,000 square meters.

1996: On Friday, May 24th, 1996 irregularities emerge at the KHD Humboldt Wedag AG subsidiary that threaten the very existence of the entire KHD Group. The manipulation of the financial statements and false reporting by KHD Humboldt Wedag AG, substantially in connection with three cement plants being built in Saudi Arabia (Hofuf, Rabigh, Yanbu) had led to huge losses or impending losses.
Together with the State of North Rhine Westphalia, the city of Cologne, Deutsche Bank AG (the major shareholder), the partner banks, the Pension Assurance Association and the Group Works Council a rescue plan is devised and implemented. The bankruptcy caused by the occurrences at KHD Humboldt Wedag AG is averted.
At September 10th, the shareholders of KHD decide to change the company’s name to DEUTZ AG with effect to January 1st 1997.
KHD AG takes a first major step toward fulfilling its strategy of spinning off the companies in the Industrial Plant Division by selling its subsidiaries Schmidt-Bretten GmbH, Bretten and Schmidt-Bretten Nederland BV, Leeuwarden to the US Group, American Precision Industries.

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