Alfred Sternberg is the founder of the Motoren-Fabrik PROTOS GmbH, one of
the most famous makes of cars in Germany, in the early 20th Century. After
a tentative to equip the PROTOS with a motor of low mechanic performance,
the ingenious Sternberg develops a new and strange 12/14 PS (HP) motor,
known as "kompensmotor", or compensated motor, that operated rapid and
smoothly, resulting in its first success.
The factory PROTOS already produced passenger, racing and utilitary cars
when, in 1905, starts producing for racing cars, the first 6 cilinder
motor, 100 PS, that gave origin to the 45 PS motors for big and luxurious
passenger cars. The PROTOS becomes then, the favorite make of Kaiser
Still considered a small factory, the PROTOS becomes famous in 1908, in the
legendary New York-Paris race, with a 4 cilinder car of 17.35 PS, drawing
the attention of Siemens-Schueckert Werke GmbH, already at that time a
large manufacturer of electrical equipments and automobiles, that became
the shareholder of the factory in december, 1908.
In 1913, these cars became the first ones to use electrical starter. After
World War I, Siemens concentrated its production in only one popular model,
but, in 1926, it closes down the automobile division, after having produced
25.000 vehicles, due to the severe economical crisis in Germany.
The make PROTOS was sold to N.A.G. Nationale Automobile Ges., that produced
a few passenger cars under the name of NAG-PROTOS up to 1927.