For most of the 19th century, Germany was the centre of the medical world. From there the most innovating research came and many of the physicians of that era are known to nearly every medical student and physician of today. Virchow, Kussmaul, Quincke, von Recklinghausen, Müller and Schönlein are familiar names in today's medicine but insofar as they are merely eponyms associated with signs, symptoms, disease and anatomy. The story of their lives, their research and their influence on each other has been little examined. This is an essay about Virchow's relationship with his mentors Müller and Schönlein and how these relationships shaped the development of Kussmaul, Quincke and von Recklinghausen as students of Virchow and their work in medicine and clinical observation after leaving Virchow's laboratory.