History of the internal combustion engine

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This is a video montage of the Otto engines running at the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion (WMSTR), in Rollag, Minnesota. (2min 16sec, 320x240, 340kbit/s video)

Although various forms of internal combustion engines were developed before the 19th century, their use was hindered until the commercial drilling and production of petroleum began in the mid-1850s. By the late 19th century, engineering advances led to their widespread adoption in a variety of applications.

Timeline of development[edit]

Various scientists and engineers contributed to the development of internal combustion engines:

Prior to 1860[edit]

al-Jazari's hydropowered saqiya chain pump device.
Model of the Barsanti-Matteucci engine (1853) in the Osservatorio Ximeniano in Florence
Early internal combustion engines were used to power farm equipment similar to these models.
Patent of Otto-Langen engine -1863.
This internal combustion engine was an integral aspect of the patent for the first patented automobile, made by Karl Benz on January 29, 1886
Karl Benz



1980 to present[edit]

Engine starting[edit]

Main article: Starter motor

Early internal combustion engines were started by hand cranking. Various types of starter motor were later developed. These included:

Electric starters are now almost universal for small and medium-sized engines, while pneumatic starters are used for large engines.

Modern vs. historical piston engines[edit]

The first piston engines did not have compression, but ran on an air-fuel mixture sucked or blown in during the first part of the intake stroke. The most significant distinction between modern internal combustion engines and the early designs is the use of compression and, in particular, in-cylinder compression.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A. F. L. Beeston, M. J. L. Young, J. D. Latham, Robert Bertram Serjeant (1990), The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature, Cambridge University Press, p. 266, ISBN 0-521-32763-6 
  2. ^ a b c Sally Ganchy, Sarah Gancher (2009), Islam and Science, Medicine, and Technology, The Rosen Publishing Group, p. 41, ISBN 1-4358-5066-1 
  3. ^ a b Paul Vallely, How Islamic Inventors Changed the World, The Independent, 11 March 2006.
  4. ^ Electric Pistol
  5. ^ "The History of the Automobile - Gas Engines". About.com. 2009-09-11. Retrieved 2009-10-19. 
  6. ^ a b Hardenberg, Horst O. (1992). Samuel Morey and his atmospheric engine. SP-922. Warrendale, Pa.: Society of Automotive Engineers. ISBN 1-56091-240-5. 
  7. ^ Dugald Clerk, "Gas and Oil Engines", Longman Green & Co, (7th Edition) 1897, pp 3-5.
  8. ^ Dugald Clerk, "Gas and Oil Engines", Longman Green & Co, 1897.
  9. ^ "The Historical Documents". Barsanti e Matteucci. Fondazione Barsanti & Matteucci. 2009. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  10. ^ a b Ricci, G. et al. (2012). "The First Internal Combustion Engine". In Starr, Fred et al. (ed.). The Piston Engine Revolution. London: Newcomen Society. pp. 23–44. ISBN 978-0-904685-15-2. 
  11. ^ Machines: A Pictorial History; Sigvard Strandh. ISBN 84-86115-20-5
  12. ^ http://services.eng.uts.edu.au/~johnd/ICEngines/HISTORY%20OF%20THE%20OTTO.pdf
  13. ^ Zeleznik, F. J.; Mcbride, B. J. "Modeling the Internal Combustion Engine". NASA Reference Publication. NASA Technical Reports Server. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  14. ^ DE patent 67207 Rudolf Diesel: „Arbeitsverfahren und Ausführungsart für Verbrennungskraftmaschinen“ pg 4.
  15. ^ Martin Leduc, "Biography of Rudolph Diesel"
  16. ^ NNDB Mapper:"Wilhelm Maybach"
  17. ^ The history behind the Mercedes-Benz brand and the three-pointed star. eMercedesBenz.com. April 17, 2008.
  18. ^ http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930091225_1993091225.pdf
  19. ^ Scania fordonshistoria 1891-1991 (in Swedish). 1992. ISBN 91-7886-074-1.  (Translated title: Vehicle history of Scania 1891-1991)
  20. ^ Volvo – Lastbilarna igår och idag (in Swedish). 1987. ISBN 91-86442-76-7.  (Translated title: Volvo trucks yesterday and today)
  21. ^ "How the Baylin Engine Works." Popular Mechanics, July 1946, pp. 131-132.
  22. ^ "Engine With A Built In Tornado." Popular Mechanic, September 1950, pp. 94-95.
  23. ^ "Revolution of the Free-Piston Engine" Popular Mechanics, September 1950, pp. 114-118.
  24. ^ Patent application number: JP2004293387.


Further reading[edit]