Who was Rudolf Diesel Biography of 1 great Diesel Engine Inventor

Rudolf Diesel Biography

Who was Rudolf Diesel? Have you ever heard about cars with a diesel engines? Your answer will be in “yes.” But most of us never tried to know about these diesel engines’ inventions.

The diesel engine is invented by Rudolf Diesel and bears his name. His complete name was Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel. Here is his Rudolf Diesel biography worth reading.

Rudolf Diesel Biography: With Exclusive Journey of Life

Rudolf Diesel’s invention of the diesel engine brought significant development in the industries. His hard work is still benefiting human kinds. Here is the complete Rudolf Diesel life journey from birth to death.

Rudolf Diesel Birth

Rudolf Diesel was born in Paris on 18th March 1858. He was at the second number among of three children of Theodor Diesel and Elisa Diesel.

Rudolf Diesel Education

Rudolf Diesel’s education started to form a local school in Paris. He was a bright student with good academic performance.

He has fluency in three languages like French, German, and English.

His mother tongue was the German language. In school, he learned the French language, and his mother taught him the English language.

Rudolf Diesel joined a French Protestant school. Soon social issues and technology made him interested.

In 1870, he came to London along with his family. Here he attended an English school.

At the age of 12, his mother sends him to Augsburg. Here he lived with his uncle and aunt. His uncle was a mathematics teacher in “Royal County Vocational College.” Rudolf Diesel started his education here.

When he was fourteen years old, he wrote a letter to his parents showing interest in being an engineer. So, he entered the established Augsburg Industrial School.

In 1875, he studied at “Royal Bavarian Polytechnic Institute of Munich” on scholarship.

Here he got the education of thermodynamics under the supervision of “Professor Karl Paul Gottfried von Linde.” He completed graduation here.

Rudolf Diesel Parents

Rudolf Diesel’s parents were Bavarian Immigrants. In 1848, His father migrated from Augsburg, Germany, to Paris, France. He was a small consumer goods maker and a leatherworker.

Rudolf Diesel’s father met with Elisa, she was a wealthy merchant daughter from Augsburg. After falling in love, they got married in 1855.

They started happy married life in a small apartment. They have one son and two daughters, Bonny, Louise, and Emma. Later on, his father succeeded in his small business and established it.

Rudolf Diesel Wife and Children

In 1883, Rudolf Diesel got married to Martha Flasche after falling in love with her. She was from the United States and working as a prestigious German family governess.

Those were the times he was climbing ladders of success and getting financially strong. Rudolf Diesel biography showing that they both have three children, Rudolf Jr., Heddy, and Eugen.

Rudolf Diesel Mysterious Death

The reasons behind Rudolf Diesel are not known, and the mystery is still there. There are two schools of thought about his death: he committed suicide or was killed by the coal industry.

On 29th September 1913, he was missing. His dead body was found several days later. His body was fished out and beyond recognition.

His son Eugen identified his father’s body through retrieved items from the dead body.

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Story Of Rudolf Diesel Life events

Who was Rudolf Diesel? And how he spent his life? It is all about getting famous and wealthy, which ended in losing wealth and mysterious death. But he gave very much to the world.

Franco-Prussian war

In 1870, due to the war of Franco-Prussian, his family had to leave France. Because of German originality. In 1870, his family lodged on a steamboat to England’s New Haven from Rouen.

Franco-Prussian war
free image from wikimedia.org

His sister Louise started a private school job due to family financial problems. Rudolf Diesel attended a local school and started his studies. He visited the scientific and engineering apparatuses of Museums.

Work with Professor Carl von Linde

After resigning Professor, Carl von Linde establishes a company, “Linde’s Ice Machine Company” in Paris. Professor has his designs for ice refrigeration and ice plant.

In 1880, Rudolf Diesel came to Paris and joined his former Professor’s company. He was armed with excellent academic records. Here he started his work and went with an impressive design.

The Professor is always a true believer in his abilities. He immediately permitted Rudolf Diesel for the construction of a new plant.

In 1885, things were changing in France. They began to resent the German people. As a result, Rudolf’s ice machine’s market was hit hard, and its revenues were falling.

So, in 1890, he moved to Berlin with all his family. He began his career as Head of Corporate Research and Development department for Carl Linda corporation.

Financial Up and Downs

After the successful invention of the diesel engine, Rudolf’s life change, different companies approached him. They paid him a considerable amount for his engine. He turns into a millionaire.

On 17th September 1898, he set up his own company, “General Diesel Corporation.” He was pretty sure that his company would boom. So, he invested heavily.

The company became successful, but his health started to decline. He was suffering from acute headaches, and doctors advised him to take a rest.

Due to his health issues, he lost about 300,000 in the Balkans’ oil development agreement. Also, the market changed.

Rudolf suffered from headaches after losing 3.5 million in the stock market. His new four-cylinder compact engine patent was lost.

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Rudolf Diesel Inventions

Rudolf Diesel was a true inventor, and his heart was full about learning new things.

That nature leads him to make the most valuable invention in the form of the diesel engine. Let discuss his inventions in detail.

Patent No. 67207

Since he was not permitted to practice his patent, he developed it for his use. He started researching outside the refrigeration field.

He began working on several other theories and later on the design of balanced heat engines.

He applied for a patent for an internal combustion engine on 28th February 1892 in Germany. It was approved patent No. 67207 for “Working Method and Design for Combustion Engines.”

His Rational Heat Motor Theory

After granting him a patent, he got more motivation. He published his new engine description in 1893. For the building and development of the engine, he needed help the reason why he approached Heinrich von Buz.

The Augsburg Man AD company director. He has a significant impact on Rudolf Diesel biography.

Buz was a talented engineer with his theories to follow. At first, Rudolf’s idea about the engine design could not convince him.

Rudolf’s theory was “The Theory and Construction of a rational heat engine to replace a steam engine and contemporary combustion engine.”

After improving his theory, Rudolf succeeded in convincing Buz. He has created an engine model patented in Germany, England, and the USA to further refine it.

“Maschinen fabrik Augsburg” company invested in Rudolf’s work and ideas. To transformation of his design into a complete machine.

Other organizations such as “Krupp and Sulzer Brothers.” also supported him. Rudolf used the help provided by the company for extensive testing and upgrading.

First Diesel Engine

After a lot of research and hard work Rudolf find the central point for making a diesel engine. He got the idea of burning powder in the same cylinder. He started his career on this idea.

free image from wikimedia.org

After hard work for several years, he came with a new design on 17th February 1894. The engine ran at 16.93 kW, which showed extra fuel efficiency as compared to a steam engine.

That was a significant development and had an encouraging effect.

This engine is known as Diesel Engine. For his design of the combustion engine, he filled the patent in Germany’s patent office.

He made more improvements in the engine and was ready for testing on 31st December 1896.

The engine has more efficiency of approximately 26 % due to its power. It was double in efficiency as compared to the steam engine of that time.

Diesel Engine powered by peanut oil

After his first engine success, Rudolf sensed the urge to improve his coming engines. He started working on this issue and did many experiments.

Lastly, in 1897, it developed an engine with more than 75% proficiency with high acceptance in the market. The engine ran on peanut oil.

Rudolf Diesel enjoyed the fame of his achievement. The corporations wanted to start work with him and develop engine rights.

Rudolf Diesel Facts

  • In childhood, he almost got killed by the apartment’s distribution system of gas. 
  • On his academic performance, “Societe Pour L Instruction Elementaire” awarded him a bronze medal in 1870.
  • Since childhood, he has severe headaches problems.
  • He completed his graduation five years due to typhoid.
  • Diesel spent his first nine months of his life with a Vincennes farmer family.
  • He was a tall man, with 185 cm height.
  • His younger sister Emma got married to his uncle Cristoph Barnickel.
  • He became a millionaire at the age of 40 years.
  • The highest prize Grand Prix awarded to him in the Paris exhibition.
  • His engine was successfully fueled with peanut oil.
  • In 1978, inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

Rudolf Diesel Quotes

After knowing who was Rudolf diesel? We must have a look at his famous quotes. His two most famous quotes are below.

“The use of plant oil as fuel may seem insignificant today. But such products can in time become just as important as kerosene and these coal-tar-products of today.”

“The automobile engine will come, and then I will consider my life’s work complete.”


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