Like so many other companies in vehicle manufacturing, Dautel also originated in a smithery. Blacksmith Ernst Dautel shod horses, did fitting work and built horse-drawn wagons from wood and iron for his customers. His son Emil learned his trade in his father's smithery.

At a very early stage, Emil Dautel noticed the switch from horse-drawn vehicles to the automobile, and to trucks. Emil Dautel sold off the smithery and founded a vehicle manufacturing company in 1933. Interrupted by two years during the second world war it was only possible to continue the founding and expansion in the 1950s. Now, the focus of production was on three-way and rear dumper bodies, corresponding to the demand in the construction and transport industry.