Rudolf Diesel

Inducted 1978

Invented and patented the Diesel engine in 1896

Successfully promoted the Diesel engine for application in many different industries

Pioneered development of engine designs that reduced air pollution

Rudolf Diesel gave his name to an enduring technology that was far ahead of its time. Diesel’s goal was to design and build an engine which was significantly more fuel-efficient than the steam and gasoline powered engines of the time. A victim of poverty, he found comfort in the education he gained in the technical schools he attended. He was a top student, earning the highest performance marks ever recorded in the schools. After learning machining and manufacturing skills at a Swiss refrigeration firm, he developed, on his own, an engine that achieved far greater efficiency than steam or gasoline. The engine’s reliability and low maintenance led to its use in ships, factories, power generating plants, locomotives, and ultimately trucks, buses and cars. Diesel’s emphasis on efficiency was also based on environmental concerns. As early as 1912, he encouraged design engineers to consider air pollution and limited natural resources in their developmental work.

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