Happy Birthday, Diesel


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.



Better. Much better.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here

13 responses to “Happy Birthday, Diesel”

  1. dukeisduke Avatar

    According to my Hemmings wall calendar, that was yesterday, along with Andy Granatelli's birthday, in 1923 (Granatelli was born here in Dallas!). On this date, John De Lorean died (2005), and the one millionth Jeep was produced (1952).
    (runs and hides now)

    1. MVEilenstein Avatar

      That is correct. I believe we ran out of Monday for this Monday post 🙂

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Smoke 'em if you got 'em!

  2. EsotericJoe Avatar

    Marcel, interesting article. However why didn't you deem it worthy to mention that his engine was designed to run on renewable peanut oil and it wasn't until much later that the heavy oil was named after him. Diesel is his engine not the fuel and he was concerned greatly about oil industry. Who Killed The Electric Car is very interesting doco on your favourite social video app

    1. MVEilenstein Avatar

      In recognition of Rudolf Diesel's birthday, the intent was to provide a (very) brief overview of his life and his work in inventing and developing the diesel engine. There isn't time to cover his background in thermodynamics, for example, or how his work was integral to his sociological views.

    2. bhtooefr Avatar

      Although, if I recall correctly, peanut oil was the secondary fuel, after coal dust didn't work out (metering and delivery was a huge problem). IIRC, that's also why the first diesels ran an air blast injection system, instead of "solid" injection (where only fuel is injected, and it's injected mechanically instead of pneumatically) – the system was originally designed for coal dust.

  3. $kaycog Avatar

    Happy Birthday, Rudolf Diesel, and thanks for Vin Diesel.
    <img src="http://images.hitfix.com/photos/690725/Vin-Diesel-and-a-1966-Ford-GT40_gallery_primary.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Does he run on peanut oil, too?

      1. $kaycog Avatar

        Of course! And he does it very well too.

  4. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

    Happy Birthday Herr Diesel, you have come a long way indeed.
    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2011/07/largest-diesel-engine.jpg&quot; width="600">

%d bloggers like this: