| September/October 1976

  • history of the internal-combustion engine

  • Lyle Cummins

  • history of the internal-combustion engine
  • Lyle Cummins

'Internal Fire,' by Lyle Cummins, is a comprehensive study of the history of the internal-combustion engine. The chronicle takes us from efforts in the 1600's to use gun powder as a fuel to the development of the Diesel engine at the end of the 19th century.

The book is well-researched and certainly technical enough to please engineers and engine experts. It contains 126 text drawings and 98 plate photographs.

The author sets engine and fuel research on a large historical stage. He tells how the times and specific events affected the thoughts and lives of inventors and builders and how they, in turn influenced their own times and changed the course of events.

The phrase 'Internal Fire' is used to symbolize not only the release of a fuel's energy in an internal combustion engine but also the energy in the creative minds of men who conceived and built these engines.

Cummins stresses the truth that 'an engine and the fuel it consumes are inseparable partners.' He points out that just as inventors of the past adapted new fuels to engine use, so must we of today accept the fact that a shortage of liquid fuel is imminent, and act accordingly. The power plants we design today should take into account the energy sources of tomorrow.

'Internal Fire' tells of inventions, business successes and failures, patent fights, personal triumphs and failures. It tells of the interrelation ship of men and events. It shows the effect of the creative mind and the creative use of money in molding events and shaping the lives of millions.


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