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Rudolf Diesel died in mysterious circumstances before he was able to capitalise on his extraordinary invention: the eponymous engine that powers much of the world today.

Rudolf Diesel died in mysterious circumstances before he was able to capitalise on his extraordinary invention: the eponymous engine that powers much of the world today. Before Diesel invented his engine in 1892, as Tim Harford explains, the industrial landscape was very different. Urban transport depended on horses and steam supplied power for trains and factories. Incredibly, Diesel’s first attempt at a working engine was more than twice as efficient as other engines which ran on petrol and gas, and he continued to improve it. Indeed, it wasn’t long before it became the backbone of the industrial revolution; used in trains, power stations, factories and container ships.

Producer: Ben Crighton
Editors: Richard Knight and Richard Vadon

(Image: Stamp depicting Rudolf Diesel, Credit: Boris15/Shutterstock)

Available now

9 minutes

Sources and related links

 

Diesel: the Man & the Engine by Morton Grosser, 1978

The Rise and Fall of American Growth by Robert J. Gordon Princeton University Press 2016

Biodiesel: Growing a New Energy Economy, Greg Pahl, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008

The mysterious death of Rudolf Diesel

Rudolf Diesel Biog

Vaclav Smil, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg

Broadcasts

  • Sat 5 Nov 2016 19:50GMT
  • Sun 6 Nov 2016 11:50GMT
  • Mon 7 Nov 2016 04:50GMT

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