Rudolf Diesel: Inventor of the Diesel Engine

The engine that bears his name set off a new chapter in the industrial revolution, but Rudolf Diesel initially thought his invention would help small businesses and artisans, not industrialists.  EARLY LIFE Rudolf Diesel was born in Paris in 1858. His parents were Bavarian immigrants, and the family was deported to England at the outbreak of the Franco-German war. Eventually, Rudolf...

John W. Lambert: built the first American automobile

John William Lambert was the third of ten children, born on January 29, 1860 to farming parents who had settled in Ohio before the Civil War after leaving Lost Mountain, Cambria County, Pennsylvania. The family farm of John’s birth was near Mechanicsburg, Ohio. There were aunts and uncles and cousins nearby. During the War, John’s father provided produce and leather...

Gottlieb Daimler: revolutionizing car design

In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler (together with his design partner Wilhelm Maybach) took Nicolaus Otto’s internal combustion engine a step further and patented what is generally recognized as the prototype of the modern gas engine. FIRST MOTORCYCLE Gottlieb Daimler’s connection to Nicolaus Otto was a direct one; Daimler worked as technical director of Deutz Gasmotorenfabrik, which Nicolaus Otto co-owned in 1872. There is...

Nicolaus Otto: Designer of the Gas Motor Engine

Despite a lack of technical training, Nikolaus August Otto (1832-1891) had the ingenuity to make the first practical internal combustion engine. He later devised the four-stroke engine, known as the Otto cycle, which was widely used for automobile and other motors. Nikolaus Otto was born in Holzhausen auf der Heide, a small village on the Rhine River in Germany. Although...

Automobile History: Fuel System

  In 1896, an automotive development that did not receive headlines was announced. Dr. Wilhelm Maybach and Gottlieb Daimler of Germany had teamed up to build a motor car possessing a new device called a float-type spray carburetor — a “gadget” that’s still with us. According to an 1898 issue of Automobil-Zeitung, a German automotive publication, the Maybach carburetor was “a...

Automobile Engine History

Asked which motor they preferred in a car, visitors to the first-ever National Automobile Show in New York city made the electric their overwhelming choice. Steam engines came in second. and trailing the field with less than 5 percent of the vote was the gas engine, which one critic predicted would never last. “Noxious, noisy, unreliable, and elephantine, it vibrates...

Top 10 Greatest Classic Cars of All Time

Classic cars are all exotic in one way or another. Whether it is the design of the bodywork, formed by hand and eye, or the way yesterday’s engineers solved particular mechanical challenges, the attraction of classic vehicles is often that they are very different from today’s cars. But there are some classic cars that transcend the rest. These are the...

Karl Benz – the father of the car

German inventor Carl Benz (1844-1929) is one of the many individuals given credit for the creation of the first automobile. In 1885 he invented the motorized tricycle, which became the first “horseless carriage” to be driven by an internal combustion engine. Benz’s contributions to automotive design also included the creation of such features as a carburetor and an electrical ignition...

Henry Ford Changed the World

At the beginning of the 20th century the automobile was a plaything for the rich. Most models were complicated machines that required a chauffer conversant with its individual mechanical nuances to drive it. Henry Ford was determined to build a simple, reliable and affordable car; a car the average American worker could afford. Out of this determination came the Model...

Disappearing Car Features

Recently, Ford made a surprising announcement: It is adding radio knobs to its hi-tech component control system MyFord Touch. That’s a retreat from cutting-edge to old technology — a man-bites-dog scenario you don’t often see in the auto business. And don’t expect to see it any more often in the future. Here’s the background: In attempting to reduce driver distraction and...