Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir
a successful internal combustion engine

In France, Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir patented the first practical internal-combustion engine in 1860. It used coke oven gas for fuel. This single-cylinder engine had a storage-battery ignition system. By 1865, about 500 of these engines were being used for such jobs as powering printing presses, lathes, and water pumps. Lenoir also installed one of his engines in a crude motor vehicle.

In 1862, another Frenchman, Beau de Rochas, worked out on paper the idea of the four-cycle engine. But he did not build one. Four years later, Nikolaus August Otto and Eugen Langen of Germany built a successful four-cycle gas engine. In 1876, Otto and Langen obtained patents in the United States on both two-cycle and four-cycle gas engines.

The first successful four-cycle engine to burn gasoline was designed in 1885 by Gottlieb Daimler, a German engineer. In the same year, Karl Benz, another German, also developed a successful gasoline engine. These engines were basically the same as gasoline engines built today.

See Automobile
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