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Diesel (1858)

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Rudolf Diesel (1858)

image of Rudolf Diesel in 1883

Source: Wikimedia Commons, author unknown (Public Domain)

Rudolf Diesel was born in 1858 in France and began his career as a refrigerator engineer. For ten years he worked on various heat engines, including a solar-powered air engine. Diesel's ideas for an engine where the combustion would be carried out within the cylinder were published in 1893, one year after he applied for his first patent. Rudolf Diesel received patent #608845 for the diesel engine. The diesel engines of today are refined and improved versions of Rudolf Diesel's original concept. They are often used in submarines, ships, locomotives, and large trucks and in electric generating plants. 

Though best known for his invention of the pressure-ignited heat engine that bears his name, Diesel was also a well-respected thermal engineer and a social theorist. Diesel's inventions have three points in common: They relate to heat transference by natural physical processes or laws; they involve markedly creative mechanical design; and they were initially motivated by the inventor's concept of sociological needs. Diesel originally conceived the diesel engine to enable independent craftsmen and artisans to compete with large industry.

At Augsburg, on August 10, 1893, Diesel's prime model, a single 10-foot iron cylinder with a flywheel at its base, ran on its own power for the first time. Diesel spent two more years making improvements and in 1896 demonstrated another model with the theoretical efficiency of 75 percent, in contrast to the ten percent efficiency of the steam engine. By 1898, Diesel was a millionaire. His engines were used to power pipelines, electric and water plants, automobiles and trucks, and marine craft, and soon after were used in mines, oil fields, factories, and transoceanic shipping.

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