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First gas engine. A gas engine is an internal combustion engine that runs on a gas fuel. The first designs were by French engineer Etienne Lenoir in 1859. His two-stroke piston and cylinder engine was powered by coal gas. The engine was only 4 percent efficient and of little use, replaced by better designs such as the Otto engine by German engineer Nikolaus Otto. Gas engines are usually used in heavy-duty industrial settings, such as factories. Artwork from 'Moteurs' (1911) by French civil engineer Max de Nansouty (1854-1913), part of the 'Les merveilles de la science' series of 1867-1891 by Louis Figuier.
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