Adam Opel
Corporate Heritage

Adam Opel biography

The Opel automobile family traces its roots to 1838 in the town of Rüsselsheim, Germany and the birth of Adam Opel. As a young adult, Adam Opel toured Europe extensively and learned to make sewing machines while in Paris. Fascinated by these machines, Adam Opel, then only 25 years old, opened a factory in Rüsselsheim for volume production of sewing machines.

In 1868, Adam Opel married Sophie Marie Scheller and began a family which would include five sons: Carl, Wilhelm, Heinrich, Friedrich and Ludwig, all of whom would be involved in the family business. In 1885, Adam Opel expanded production to sell fully assembled bicycles in Germany.

When Adam Opel died in 1895, the company was making 2,000 bicycles a year and was leading Europe in sewing machine sales. With the encouragement of their mother, the Opel brothers decided to move into the fledgling automobile industry and would produce their first motorcars in 1899.