Nikolaus August Otto

Nikolaus August Otto

Holzhausen an der Haide, Rhein-Lahn-Kreis, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Death 26 Jan 1891 (aged 58)
Cologne, Stadtkreis Köln, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Burial Cologne, Stadtkreis Köln, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Memorial ID 34649202 · View Source
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Inventor. Creator of the First Practical Four-Stroke Combustion Engine. A farmer's son, he was apprenticed to a businessman, working in Frankfurt and Cologne, where he settled. By 1862, he was already working on the four stroke engine, and built hits first gas engine the following year. He founded a company in 1864 with Eugen Langen to build the first engine factory in the world. Today, that company is Deutz AG, one of the major engine producing companies in the world. In 1867 a version of his gas engine won the gold medal at the Paris World's Fair. By 1876, he had successfully developed the four cycle concept into a working motor. In 1884, he invented the electrical ignition coil, which allowed him to use, for the first time, liquid fuels. He was awarded a German patent, though there were claims from other inventors for priority, which caused him to lose the patents in 1886 and 1889. He appears to have developed his engine independently, however, and built the first working model. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Würzburg in 1882, and the Otto Thermodynamic Cycle bears his name, which describes the functioning of a normal internal combustion engine. A number of schools in German bear his name, and he was honored on a German postage stamp in 1952, on the 75 anniversary of his invention. His son Gustav Otto founded one of the forerunner companies that became BMW.

Bio by: Kenneth Gilbert

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Frankie
  • Added: 9 Mar 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 34649202
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Nikolaus August Otto (10 Jun 1832–26 Jan 1891), Find A Grave Memorial no. 34649202, citing Melaten-Friedhof, Cologne, Stadtkreis Köln, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany ; Maintained by Find A Grave .