You’ve come a long way, baby.
Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel, inventor and namesake of the diesel internal combusition engine, was born on this day in 1858. His development of the diesel engine revolutionized industry by providing a lower cost, efficient alternative to the steam and gasoline engines available at the time. Suffice it to say he was a genius in school, later working for Carl von Linde as a refrigeration engineer. He devoted most of this 30’s to conceiving, producing, and refining what become known as the diesel engine. His work culmintated with the introduction of a 25HP 4-stroke engine, with a single 10-foot (!!) iron cylinder.
As mentioned, one of Diesel’s motivations was to provide a more efficient alternative to the steam or gasoline engine. There is a lot of wasted energy in the operation of steam and gas engines, and Diesel knew there was a better way. (It must be said, though, that steam has come a long way.) His invention was almost immediately successful, and Diesel become a millionaire through licensing and royalties.
As you all are well aware, the rest is history; diesel engines have found myriad applications, from electric generators to submaries to tanks to the many cars we love so much.
Whether you hate diesels or love them, the world is a much more interesting place with diesel engines in it, and we can thank a nerdy German from Paris for it. The diesel is here to stay for a long time, especially as fuel costs continue to increase, and customers demand more efficient vehicles. For those of us on the other side of the Atlantic, we have more diesels to anticipate over the next few years.
Rudolf Diesel wanted better fuel efficiency and lower cost, so he invented and built his own engine. What were you doing with your 30’s? Happy birthday, Herr Diesel.