Rudolf Diesel

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Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel (German pronunciation: [ˈʁuːdɔlf ˈkʁɪstjan ˈkaʁl ˈdiːzəl]; March 18, 1858 – last seen alive September 29, 1913) was a German inventor and mechanical engineer, famous for the invention of the diesel engine.


Early life

Diesel was born in Paris, France in 1858[1] as the second of three children to Theodor and Elise Diesel. Diesel's parents were German-born immigrants living in France.[2][3] Theodor Diesel, a bookbinder by trade, had left his home town of Augsburg, Bavaria, in 1848. Theodor met his wife, Elise Strobel, daughter of a Nuremberg merchant in Paris in 1855 and became a leather goods manufacturer there.

Diesel spent his early childhood in France, but as a result of the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, the family (like many foreigners) was forced to leave and emigrated to London. Before the end of the war, however, Diesel's mother sent 12-year-old Rudolf to Augsburg to live with his aunt and uncle, Barbara and Christoph Barnickel, so that he might learn to speak German and visit the Königliche Kreis-Gewerbsschule (Royal County Trade School), where his uncle taught mathematics.

At age 14, Rudolf wrote to his parents that he wanted to become an engineer, and after finishing his basic education at the top of his class in 1873, he enrolled at the newly-founded Industrial School of Augsburg. Later, in 1875, he received a merit scholarship from the Royal Bavarian Polytechnic of Munich which he accepted against the will of his parents who would rather have seen him begin earning money.

In Munich, one of his professors was Carl von Linde. Diesel was unable to graduate with his class in July 1879 because of a bout of typhoid. While he waited for the next exam date, he gathered practical engineering experience at the Gebrüder Sulzer Maschinenfabrik (Sulzer Brothers Machine Works) in Winterthur, Switzerland. Diesel graduated with highest academic honours from his Munich alma mater in January 1880 and returned to Paris, where he assisted his former Munich professor Carl von Linde with the design and construction of a modern refrigeration and ice plant. Diesel became the director of the plant a year later.

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