Felice Matteucci

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Model of the Barsanti-Matteucci engine in the Osservatorio Ximeniano in Florence

Felice Matteucci (February 12, 1808 – September 13, 1887) was an Italian hydraulic engineer who co-invented an internal combustion engine with Eugenio Barsanti. Their patent request was granted in London on June 12, 1854, and published in London's Morning Journal under the title "Specification of Eugene Barsanti and Felix Matteucci, Obtaining Motive Power by the Explosion of Gases", as documented by the Fondazione Barsanti e Matteucci.[1][2]

Born in Lucca, Tuscany. Matteucci studied hydraulic and mechanical engineering, first in Paris, then later in Florence. In 1851 he met Father Barsanti and appreciated his ideas for a new type of engine. They worked together to turn the primary concept into a manufacturable item, eventually developing a model that was suitable for mass production. Its construction was entrusted to Bauer & Co. of Milan, a company also known as Helvetica, which delivered the motor at the beginning of 1863.

The success of the engine, which was much more efficient that the steam-engine, was so great that orders started pouring in from as far away as Constantinople. Matteucci and Barsanti reached an agreement for the production of the motor with a company in Belgium, and Barsanti departed for Belgium on February 18, 1864 to oversee the work personally. But on the following April 19 he died suddenly, and all their work came to an end.

Matteucci returned to his previous work as a hydraulic engineer. He studied new hydrometers (to measure the level of a river), rain gauges, and hydraulic operations over rivers.

In 1877 Matteucci argued that he and his partner Barsanti were the originators of the invention of the internal combustion engine. The patent registered by Nikolaus August Otto was very similar to the Barsanti-Matteucci design. This frustration contributed to the illness that eventually caused Matteucci's death, in his own home in Capannori, near Lucca.

Many documents concerning the patents of Barsanti and Matteucci’s new motor in England, Piedmont, France, Belgium and Prussia are now kept in the archive of the library of the Museo Galileo in Florence. [3]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "La documentazione essenziale per l'attribuzione della scoperta". "A later request was presented to the Patent Office of the Reign of Piedmont, under No. 700 of Volume VII of that Office. The text of this patent request is not available, only a photo of the table containing a drawing of the engine. This may have been either a new patent or an extension of a patent granted three days earlier, on 30 December 1857, at Turin." 
  3. ^ "Summary of the documents concerning Barsanti and Matteucci’s new motor patent". 

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