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Rudolf Diesel. Portrait of Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel (1858-1913), German engineer. Diesel was a brilliant student, graduating with the highest ever marks from the Munich Technical University. In the 1890s he experimented with internal combustion engines. His design used the heat generated in compressing air in a cylinder to ignite a fuel mixture without needing a spark. The engine was heavy, but safe and efficient. The engine was first exhibited at the Munich Exhibition of 1898. It found uses in ships and locomotives, making Diesel a millionaire. He probably committed suicide, disappearing overboard from a ship.
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