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Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel (Paris, March 18, 1858 – English Channel, September 29 or 30, 1913) was a German engineer, inventor of diesel fuel and diesel engine. high-performance combustion that bears his name, the diesel engine.
Diesel was born in Paris in 1858, second of the three children of Elise Strobel and Theodor Diesel. His parents were Bavarian immigrants settled in Paris. In 1870 the family had to leave France at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, and Rudolf was sent to Augsburg. Then he returned to Paris as a representative of his master’s refrigeration machine company.
Between 1893 and 1897 he built in the workshops of the company MAN AG, belonging to the German business group Krupp, the first engine in the world that burned vegetable oil (palm oil) in working conditions. This was presented at the international fair in Paris and was later called with the surname of its inventor.
The Institute of Mechanical Engineers awarded it the Order of Merit for its research and development on engines with peanut oil, which later used oil as a cheaper fuel.
He considered himself as a social philosopher, although from his book Solidarismus, where he describes his vision of the company, only 200 copies were sold.
It is assumed that he drowned in the night of September 29 to 30, 1913, because he disappeared from the ship that covered the route from Antwerp to England in which he was traveling. A couple of days later, a boat from the coast guard found his body. As was common at that time, only his belongings were taken (later identified by his son) and the body was thrown back into the sea. The absence of a note or letter of suicide has led to think that it could have been an accident: Diesel, a victim of frequent headaches, might have gone for a walk on deck, and fell into the water in an oversight. However, it is also true that suicide can not be totally ruled out, given that their economic situation at that time was desperate, since they were almost bankrupt. There is the hypothesis that German agents murdered him to prevent the spread of his inventions, it has not yet been proven that this is real, but his death remains a mystery.
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