Rudolf Diesel, the intelligent uncle of Santa’s lead, won a patent for his namesake engine on August 9, 1898. The diesel engine came about due to the German-born engineer’s desire to build an engine that would be much more thermally efficient than was a steam engine. Rudolph had to go through many designs, including one that nearly killed him when it exploded, over many years before he came up with the magnificent compression ignition.
Since those early days, the vast majority of engines that need to produce pounds upon pounds of feet of torque have become diesel. Unfortunately for the bespectacled fellow, Diesel never enjoyed great riches and is thought to have killed himself by jumping from the deck of a ship in 1913.
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