Inventing the Gas-Motor Engine

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Who was the first person to create a commercially successful gas-motor engine?

Inventing the Gas-Motor Engine

The next time you put a key in the ignition of your car, turn it and hear the hum of your engine starting, you can thank Nikolaus, August Otto, of Deutz-on-the-Rhine, Germany. His patent number, 365,701 was earned for his invention of a way to ignite gas/motor engines by compressing the charge before ignition happens. His new idea served as a prototype of the combustion engine, which is likely a more well known invention.

Believe it or not, Otto was a traveling salesman before he was compelled to improve engine design. His patent was received in 1887 and named it the Otto-Cycle Engine. Of course, car history to date is full of patents, probably too many to even count. But, the Otto-Cycle Engine--even though significant improvements have been made to it--remain a guide for engines still made today. While Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz both made progress on developing engines based on internal combustion, Otto's was the first commercially successful four-stroke engine. That's why it remains a prototype for engine development to this day.



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