Adam Opel was born on 9 May 1837 to Wilhelm, a locksmith, and his wife in Rüsselsheim. Adam studied with his father until the age of 20, when he received his travel pass. The pass enabled him to be an apprentice locksmith in Belgium, in Liege, Brussels, and then Paris, where he arrived in mid-1858. While in Paris, he took an interest in an innovation—the sewing machine. In 1859, he went to work for a maker of sewing machines to get a closer look.