When you hear the words internal combustion engine, you might be curious to know who invented it. Francois Isaac de Rivaz designed the first internal combustion engine in 1807. It was powered by hydrogen and electric spark and fitted to a crude working vehicle. Samuel Brown invented the first industrially viable internal combustion engine two years later. This invention made it possible for people to make their cars.
The internal combustion engine was invented by Etienne Lenoir, a self-taught French chemist. He modified an existing steam engine to run on a mixture of coal and air. This new engine type became widely popular and profitable in the mid-19th century.
Lenoir’s invention was a significant step toward the development of modern automobiles. Although it was initially used for printing presses and water pumps, he successfully adapted the technology to a car engine by the end of the 1850s. The Lenoir engine is widely considered the inventor of the first automobile. The Hippomobile, a three-wheeled carriage based on a tricycle, is one of the most famous examples of a Lenoir creation.
Lenoir is credited with the invention of the steam engine and the Hippomobile automobile. He used hydrogen, produced through water electrolysis, to power his machine. Lenoir also developed the automatic telegraph, a device that could transmit written messages. This device was crucial to the French during the siege of Paris and the Franco-Prussian War.
In 1858, Lenoir developed a stationary engine. He also experimented with electricity. His single-cylinder machine became the first usable engine in 1859. It could be operated directly in the home by connecting it to the municipal gas supply. This engine was relatively quiet but had high consumption. It was similar to a steam engine in that it generated heat inside the cylinder.
After completing his inventions, Lenoir became financially secure and dedicated to science. His census entry describes him as a “chemist” or “galvanizing engineer.” He lives at six boulevard des Filles du Calvary in Paris. He received his first patent for the method when he enrolled in a chemistry program.
Eventually, Lenoir developed the first practical internal combustion engine. His engine included slide valves that sucked in the air-fuel mixture and discharged the exhaust products. Lenoir’s engine was used in fixed-location industrial settings in France and England. It was even installed on a carriage. It made a short test trip at half-walking speed. His invention inspired Nikolaus Otto, who later developed the automobile.
Nicolaus August Otto
The internal combustion engine is an engine that burns fuel. The combustion process occurs in a combustion chamber and is responsible for the movement of a piston. The piston moves upward, compressing and heating the mixture. This allows the piston to push against the piston rod, which propels the vehicle. The piston then returns downward to expel the fuel, which is then converted into energy.
It was the German Nicolaus August Otto who made the engine possible. He had a tabletop model of a machine running in 1862; by 1876, he was awarded U.S. Patent No. 194,047. Otto’s engine would later become the basis of highways, drive-ins, the Indy 500, and many other things. His invention made transportation more accessible and more efficient.
Otto had no formal technical training, but his passion for mechanical engineering led him to develop the first practical internal combustion engine. He also invented the carburetor, allowing liquid fuel to flow into the machine. Ultimately, he developed the Otto cycle, a four-stroke engine widely used in automobiles.
Otto’s invention was so revolutionary that it affected the automotive industry within a few years. Gottlieb Daimler attached an Otto engine to a bicycle, and Karl Benz developed the first three-wheel automobile using the new machine. The Otto engine was also used in motorcycles and motorboats. After Otto’s death, Rudolf Diesel developed a diesel engine using the principles of Otto’s engine.
In 1864, Otto and Langen built an atmospheric engine that resembled the one made by Eugenio Barsanti and Felice Matteucci a few years earlier. The atmospheric engine was a hit at the 1867 Paris World Exhibition, where it beat out other gas engines. The German machine required half the gas of the other engines.
Otto’s engine had four strokes, or cycles, to ignite the fuel-air mixture. The first stroke drew the air and gas mixture into the cylinder, while the second stroke compressed and ignited the gas charge. The third stroke of the piston forces exhausts gases out of the cylinder. This cycle was very successful and was called the Otto-cycle engine.
Gottlieb Daimler was a German mechanical engineer who invented the internal combustion engine. He was a former apprentice gunsmith who had been working in a steam engine factory in Strassburg. He then completed his training in mechanical engineering at the Polytechnic Institute in Stuttgart. After completing his schooling, Daimler began working as a mechanical engineer and spent the next three decades building and perfecting his invention.
Daimler was born in Schorndorf, near Stuttgart. His parents were Johannes Daimler, a master baker, and Wilhelmine Friederike. His family had lived in the area for more than 200 years. His father, Johannes Daimler, was a successful baker, and he inherited his father’s skills at a young age. Daimler later established his automobile company, which produced the first Mercedes model.
Daimler had been familiar with Deutz’s four-stroke engine concept, so he chose this mode. However, Otto’s original patent was still valid. Otto’s idea involved the slow combustion of gas mixtures in a cylinder. Daimler and Maybach spent the next ten years perfecting their design and implementing them in automobiles. Ultimately, he was successful, and by 1885, he had the first gasoline-powered internal combustion engine installed on a motorcycle.
After joining the Deutz-AG company, Daimler and Maybach began working together. In 1882, they purchased a summerhouse at the top of Spielberg hill in Cannstatt, which they used as a workshop. The house had a brick extension that Daimler and Maybach used for their workshops. While Daimler worked on the commercial side, Maybach was in charge of the design department.
Daimler’s work on the internal combustion engine began as early as 1882 when he tested it on a boat. In 1883, he partnered with Maybach on the development of the gasoline engine. In 1883, Daimler and Maybach installed the machine in a crude wooden bicycle. They tested it on a motorcycle a year later, the first ever made without horses. Daimler’s vehicle won the first organized competition for vehicles without horses. Unfortunately, he lost the Paris to Rouen race that year, which caused the Daimler Motor Company to suffer a significant stock price drop.
Tesla was a brilliant inventor who worked with many big names in history. In the late 1880s, he founded a company to commercialize his inventions. He also partnered with Alfred Brown, who had experience setting up companies and patenting inventions. The three men would become known as the Tesla Electric Company. The company would handle the marketing and patenting of Tesla’s patents for many decades.
Nikola Tesla’s theories about electricity and magnetism were based on his fascination with light as a wave and particle. This concept has now been incorporated into quantum physics. Tesla also proposed manipulating electromagnetic waves to create a “wall of light,” allowing time travel. In 1893, he demonstrated his concept at a conference in St. Louis, Missouri, and addressed the National Electric Light Association in Philadelphia. Various media outlets reported his demonstrations.
The internal combustion engine is an important invention that revolutionized the transportation industry. Tesla is the first inventor to patent this engine type. The company’s patents made him independently wealthy, and he continued to pursue his interests. In 1889, he moved from his shop on Liberty Street and worked from several workshop/laboratory spaces in Manhattan. These workspaces included the lab at 175 Grand Street, the fourth floor of 33-35 South Fifth Avenue, and the sixth and seventh floors of 46 & 48 East Houston Street.
Tesla was born in Smiljan, Croatia, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was the son of a Serbian Orthodox priest and a farmer. He studied mechanics and electricity at the Arabian Polytechnic School in Graz. His brother Daniel died in a riding accident in 1863, and the seven-year-old Nikola began reporting visions. This early experience would affect his life for the rest of his life.
Tesla also had an early interest in alternating current, the source of electricity. Early experiments with motors and lighting used D.C. But these machines were inefficient, and no one knew how A.C. motors would work. This insight led to the development of the A.C. motor.