The IV e was developed for passenger and express trains in order to supplement or replace the older, predominantly four-coupled locomotives in this role. It was all about the steep Black Forest Railway, where the existing locomotives could no longer cope with the increasing number of passengers. Thus, from 1894, Grafenstaden from Alsace supplied six-coupled engines with four-cylinder compound engines. They were the first locomotives with a 4-6-0 wheel arrangement in Germany, and they were also the first to use a de Glehn type engine on a locomotive with three coupled axles, i.e. with drive on two axles.
The running gear was built on an inside plate frame, while the bogie was designed with the outside frame known from Grafenstaden, despite the problematic running characteristics. The special feature of this engine rarely used in Germany was that the high-pressure cylinders were on the outside and the low-pressure cylinders on the inside, although the latter had a larger diameter. In order to achieve sufficient traction, the coupling wheels had a diameter of just 1,600 mm, which limited the speed to 90 km/h. During test runs, power of around 800 hp was measured and a 250-tonne train could be transported on the flat at 75 km/h.
Production comprised a total of 83 units up to 1901, which were also supplied by MBG Karlsruhe. Shortly after the turn of the century, the more powerful engines of classes II d and IV f pushed the IV e out of express service, and as a result it was only used in front of regular passenger trains. With the beginning of the First World War, decommissioning began, so that the Reichsbahn was able to take over 35 more units in 1925 and classify them as the class 3870. The last were retired in 1932. Today, none of the locomotives remain, as the only existing one kept as a cutaway model in a museum burned down with the museum during World War II.