history of abc

Rudolf Diesel

At the end of the 19th century, with its developed coalmines, its steel industry and its proven railway system, Belgium was one of the most industrialized countries. Under these circumstances, new ideas and developments were born. Therefore one should not be surprised that one of the new developments, Rudolf Diesel's new engine, shortly after it was presented in Germany, found a manufacturer in Belgium.

Rudolf Diesel In December 1896, this engine, which no longer depended on sparks for its ignition, but where ignition starts under the high temperature after compression of air in a combustion chamber, ran for the first time. Only three years later this engine was produced in the company "Carels Brothers" in Gent. One of the brothers Carels, Georges, became a good friend of Rudolf Diesel. Rudolf Diesel was more than just an excellent engineer, he was a philosopher and romanticist. Rudolf Diesel was born on the 18th of March 1858 as the son of a Leatherworker in Bayern and a governess of German origin living in Paris. Rudolf Diesel surprised people with his technical interest, his musical capacities as a pianist and modern artist.

Further he considered himself more as a social philosopher and with his discovery, he first of all thought, that the independent workers, such as jewelers, watchmakers, dentists,... would be spared from the harsh labor of operating the steam machines of the big industrial Companies. The license payments he got made him a millionaire already before the end of the 19th century.

The recognition as a philosopher however, he never obtained. From his book "Solidarity", in 2 bands, in which he described his view on a right Company, he only sold a 200 pieces. Further he failed in the investments he made and knew poverty before he died. His death remains a mystery. On September the 27th of 1913, he took the boat to London for a Conference. During the night he disappeared and was never found back. It is generally believed that he got overboard and drowned. Less than one year later the first World War started and both sides used the discovery of the diesel engine, made to improve human life standards, in ships and U-boats, the deadliest weapon ever used at sea.


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