A brief chronological history of the development of internal combustion engines.

| September/October 1990

  • John Ericsson
    John Ericsson.
  • George Brayton
    George Brayton.

  • John Ericsson
  • George Brayton

20201 Arthur Rd. Big Rapids, Michigan 49307

In early engine development there were numerous scientists and engineers that contributed theories and knowledge of importance that was utilized by engineers of later date. With the limited background of information we have on the development of early engines it seems amazing that so few engineers accomplished so much in such a short period of time. The names of Otto and Langen, Mietz and Weiss, Daimler and Benz are readily recognized, but what information did they have to work with, and ultimately achieve success in their efforts?

The information submitted here may enlighten the problem to some extent, but admittedly is not complete for all those who contributed so much. The dates presented here may be in slight conflict with others encountered, depending on the source of information.

In 1824, Sadi Carnot, a French engineer, suggested fundamental ideas for an internal combustion engine. He proposed four valuable ideas.

1.  Self-ignition of fuel in highly compressed air.

2.  Compression of air before ignition.