Four-stroke Engine - History - Otto Cycle

Otto Cycle

Nikolaus August Otto as a young man was a traveling salesman for a grocery concern. In his travels he encountered the internal combustion engine built in Paris by Belgian expatriate Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir. In 1860, Lenoir successfully created a double-acting engine that ran on illuminating gas at 4% efficiency. The 18 litre Lenoir Engine produced only 2 horsepower. The Lenoir engine ran on illuminating gas made from coal, which had been developed in Paris by Philip Lebon.

In testing a replica of the Lenoir engine in 1861 Otto became aware of the effects of compression on the fuel charge. In 1862, Otto attempted to produce an engine to improve on the poor efficiency and reliability of the Lenoir engine. He tried to create an engine that would compress the fuel mixture prior to ignition, but failed as that engine would run no more than a few minutes prior to its destruction. Many other engineers were trying to solve the problem, with no success.

In 1864, Otto and Eugen Langen founded the first internal combustion engine production company, NA Otto and Cie (NA Otto and Company). Otto and Cie succeeded in creating a successful atmospheric engine that same year. The factory ran out of space and was moved to the town of Deutz, Germany in 1869 where the company was renamed to Deutz Gasmotorenfabrik AG (The Deutz Gas Engine Manufacturing Company). In 1872, Gottlieb Daimler was technical director and Wilhelm Maybach was the head of engine design. Daimler was a gunsmith who had worked on the Lenoir engine. By 1876, Otto and Langen succeeded in creating the first internal combustion engine that compressed the fuel mixture prior to combustion for far higher efficiency than any engine created to this time.

Daimler and Maybach left their employ at Otto and Cie and developed the first high-speed Otto engine in 1883. In 1885, they produced the first automobile to be equipped with an Otto engine. The Petroleum Reitwagen used a hot-tube ignition system and the fuel known as Ligroin to become the world's first vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine. It used a four-stroke engine based on Otto's design. The following year Karl Benz produced a four-stroke engined automobile that is regarded as the first car.

In 1884, Otto's company, then known as Gasmotorenfabrik Deutz (GFD), developed electric ignition and the carburetor. In 1890, Daimler and Maybach formed a company known as Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft. Today, that company is Daimler-Benz.

See Otto engine for more detail.

Read more about this topic:  Four-stroke Engine, History

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