Rudolf Diesel died in mysterious circumstances before he was able to capitalise on his extraordinary invention: the eponymous engine that powers much of the world today. Before Diesel invented his engine in 1892, as Tim Harford explains, the industrial landscape was very different. Urban transport depended on horses and steam supplied power for trains and factories. Incredibly, Diesel’s first attempt at a working engine was more than twice as efficient as other engines which ran on petrol and gas, and he continued to improve it. Indeed, it wasn’t long before it became the backbone of the industrial revolution; used in trains, power stations, factories and container ships.
Producer: Ben Crighton
Editors: Richard Knight and Richard Vadon
(Image: Stamp depicting Rudolf Diesel, Credit: Boris15/Shutterstock)