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Nikolaus August Otto (1832-1891), the German engineer who effectively devised the four-stroke internal combustion engine. Although he lacked conventional engineering experience, Otto became fascinated by the gas engine devised by E. Lenoir. In 1876 he described a system usually called the Otto cycle, which involves four phases; the induction, compression, ignition and exhaust strokes. This four-stroke gas engine was quiet and fairly efficient. It was further developed for use with gasoline (petrol) vapour and air, using a carburettor to control the mixture, and improved ignition systems; the resulting engine was well suited for the motor car.
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