Christian Gottlob Schmidt was born on August 6, 1844 in Bietigheim/Enz; his father was a teacher. In 1860 he completed an apprenticeship as a mechanical fitter in Urach, and on October 17, 1875 married Luise Katharina Banzhaf (born on February 22, 1851 and daughter of a butcher, farmer and timber dealer in Illingen). Her brother, Gottlob Banzhaf, later greatly contributed to the progress of the NSU Werke for several decades. The couple’s only son Karl August was born on August 19, 1876, in Riedlingen.
On July 27, 1873, Christian Schmidt and Heinrich Stoll finalized an agreement with regard to their new business activity and took over a small workshop for the manufacture of knitting machines, in the town of Riedlingen on the River Danube. In 1875 the “Mechanische Werkstatt von Schmidt & Stoll” applied for its first patent. However, by the end of 1876, and after three years of successful cooperation, the two industrialists went their separate ways. Stoll moved to Reutlingen and established the Heinrich Stoll & Co. knitting machine factory; Schmidt, as proprietor of a “mechanical workshop in particular for knitting machines”, remained a strong competitor for Stoll, until moving to Neckarsulm in 1880.
At that time, Schmidt’s workshop employed 8-10 people, with commercial matters looked after by Gottlob Banzhaf. The small building “on the island” contained lathes, other machine tools and the smith’s hearth on the ground floor, with offices a floor higher and a storeroom above that in the loft. Before long, conditions became too cramped and the available water power was insufficient for their production capacity. Schmidt began to look for new premises, and soon after heard that an old, dilapidated ‘Brunnersche’ saw and plaster mill was for sale.
On April 1, 1880, Christian Schmidt purchased this property for the sum of 18,000 Marks. The transaction was actually negotiated by one of his customers, a Neckarsulm textile manufacturer and businessman Simon Diemer (and to this day there is still a Diemer fashion store in Neckarsulm) who at that time employed approximately 50 women and girls to sew and knit for him. To convert and re-equip the building only took three months, and this meant the move from Riedlingen to Neckarsulm was able to take place before the end of June that year. The factory manager as well as six workers also made the move to the new factory. Banzhaf organized the removal of the machines, many of which were retained by Schmidt when he and Stoll parted company. In 1881, knitting machines from the new factory in Neckarsulm were granted an award at an exhibition in Stuttgart.
Christian Schmidt died of a liver disease in Neckarsulm on February 24, 1884 at the early age of 39.