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Who invented the Internal Combustion Engine?

Speaking on engines in general, reminds me who got the credit for inventing the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE). Before there was Karl Benz or Henry Ford, there was Nikolaus Otto. The German inventor was the first to produce an efficient working internal combustion engine, others had mild success at internal combustion engine design, but the age of internal combustion was put together in full with the Otto Cycle Engine. The Otto engine was invented in 1862. He was granted a patent for his machine, although others were knocking on the door too.

Simply put, every car owner can thank Otto for patenting the first engine for automotive use. No matter what brand of car you own, an American car with an American engine or possibly a Foreign engine, or vice versa (plenty of American cars use Foreign engines, as currentplenty of Foreign cars use American engines), no matter how advanced the engine is, Otto designed the method of operation for all ICEs as we know them today.

By that time, however, he was co-owner of a successful company manufacturing stationary internal combustion engines for light industry. These engines worked on what was then called “gaslight gas”, and had to be hooked up to gas pipes and ignited from a pilot light.

In the late 1890’s Otto developed an electrical ignition system, the first ‘spark plug’ was used to ignite liquid fuels for internal combustion. Petroleum quickly became popular as a mobile fuel source. The electrical ignition idea can actually be first found in the work of Alessandro Volta who used it to ignite gas to fire a cork from a small gun in the 1780’s.

Karl Benz is given credit for the first automobile. It used an engine similar to the original Otto Cycle Engine, which Benz himself designed. Benz’s company later joined forces with Diamler Motors to form Diamler-Benz, now Mercedes Benz. Gottlieb Diamler was a former employee of Otto’s first motor company. He founded his own enterprise after Otto’s death. Otto, and his internal combustion engine are responsible for powering much of early German Industrialization.

Once applied to the automobile the internal combustion engine changed the way people traveled and moved goods in a revolutionary way. Just as the steam engine had made railroads possible, the internal combustion engine made moving heavy loads without fixed tracks much easier and more practical.

Perhaps this is why the German cars are considered the best engineered cars in the world today. It is no secret that Mercedes Benz engines and BMW engines are world class engineering products. Porsche and Volkswagen are also German made with world renowned German engineering.

Every time you hit the starter on your car, think of Otto, he is responsible for the first gasoline or fossil fuel engine. Whatever you drive, A Foreign car or American car the basic theory of an ICE is the same. Technology has been the biggest change. With that in mind it is important to know where you can buy a remanufactured engine should your engine have a failure. Your out of luck as far as the original Otto engine goes, unless the Smithsonian Museum will lend you one of theirs.

Realistically speaking, most of us drive newer cars with newer technology, which continues to develop with the times. If you need an engine for a modern day car, GotEngines.com can outfit you with any replacement engine you may need. Ask them for an Otto engine, I bet they give it a try!! Call 1-866-320-1065.

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3 Responses to “Who invented the Internal Combustion Engine?”

  1. sara says:

    Thanks for all the great info! As a car owner, I thank Otto for patenting the first engine for automotive use!

  2. […] first part of the drive train is the engine. Opening your hood and seeing all the hoses, belts, gears, wires, pulleys, bottles filled with […]

  3. […] all sorts of luxury items, but theoretically, engines still operate the same way that the first ICE by Otto […]

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