The nascent Austro-Daimler and Puch companies were formed in four cities; Wein, Graz, Steyr and Wiener-Neustadt in what the history books refer to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire of the 1890's. To be concise, the origin was some decades before then in 1855 when Josef Werndl (b. 26 February 1831, Steierdorf Austria d. 29 April 1889), a gunsmith, took over the established family manufacturing company then making components for small arms. He improved manufacturing techniques and diversified their offerings. With his brother Franz Werndl the "Josef und Franz Werndl & Comp. Waffenfabrik und Sägemühle in Oberletten" (Weapons Factory Arms and Sawmill) was formalized on 16 April 1864 in Steyr, Austria. They would continue the manufacturing but also develop the Werndl-rifle Model 1867, a new modern breech loading rifle system. Working with talented engineers including Ferdinand Mannlicher the company became the leading European producer of small arms. The company began producing bicycles in 1894, and "Steyr" brand automobiles in 1915. The company transitioned 1869 to "Österreichische Waffenfabriksgesellschaft" (OEWG, Austrian Arms-Manufacturing Company), then in 1924 it was changed as "Steyr-Werke AG".

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