Talk:Nikolaus Otto

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Many sources, incl. this one indicate that he was born on June 14 and died on Jnuary 28, so I am correcting the dates.

why would the source dates be wrong? people may have simply changed the date of death to patent some of his discoveries. dicoveries that he may not have made.

Two sources that are both from the Otto museum have his birth date listed differently. It's either the 10 or June of the 14th of JuneDigitallymade (talk) 12:12, 8 July 2016 (UTC)


In German wikipedia his name is written with c. So k and ch as you used here is totally wrong.

The U.S. patents clearly state his name was spelt with a "c", not a "k". As in, "Nicolaus August Otto". - victorvp 00:00, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

May I add to this that he applied and recieved patents in 1877, not 1876. - victorvp 00:00, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

Cool!!! I found my Great Great Step-uncle on Wikipedia. I wonder what happened to all his money... 02:48, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

I discovered I am related to Nicolaus via his sister. Where can I obtain additional biographical information?

Google? A library?

I am one of the fifth nieces of Nicolaus I am the grand daughter of Judy Otto. and it's so nice to go on the computer and find out so much of this man I'm proud to be an Otto Jeanell Nelson

First to invent the internal-combustion engine?[edit]

According to this site,, Etienne Lenoir invented the very first internal-combustion engine running on expensive gas. Nicolaus Otto is the first to invent a four-stroke internal combustion engine powered by liquid fuel.

The gas was illuminating gas and it was manufactured by heating coal and then filtering the gas through water. It was pioneered by Philippe LeBon in Paris.
If we go by the strict definitions of what a particular prototype is, Otto wasn't first in anything. Lenoir had an actual automobile in 1863. There were others before Lenoir also. What's most significant is did a particular "invention" lead to progress? Lenoir's engine is the basis for successful internal combustion engines that ran on petroleum. Otto's was the first engine to successfully implement compressed charge at which many engineers had failed for decades (including Otto from 1862 until 1876).
There are a lot of people who are researching this history NOW who are falling victim to the people of that period who we would now refer to as "Patent Trolls." People like Beau De Rochas who never built anything but based a theory on Sadi Carnot's work. Digitallymade (talk) 11:42, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
Otto's first patent application was in 1861 and it was rejected.Digitallymade (talk) 19:43, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

Allocation of text[edit]

A lot of the information in this article (e.g. about Daimler, Maybach and Benz) is about the development of the internal combustion engine rather than about Otto himself. I think these parts of the article should be moved to Internal combustion engine. Biscuittin 15:05, 9 October 2007 (UTC)


He invented the first 4 stroke engine. Not the first internal combustion. Needs a rewrite.

No, he did not. Christian Reithmann (Christian Reithmann) (1860) and Alphonse Beau de Rochas (1862) did. Otto reinvented the four stroke engine. --Sigmundg (talk) 02:44, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
Beau De Rochas wrote a paper based on Carnot's work and received a patent. He was what we call a "Patent Troll" today just as Selden was in the USA. Selden finally lost his patent when he was forced to build an engine. Rochas did not build anything and probably wouldn't have been able to. He is significant for ONE reason only. His patent, which never had a physical specimen to illustrate the principle was used to overturn 1 of Otto's 25 or so patents which allowed Gottleib Daimler to escape royalties on his high speed engines. Digitallymade (talk) 19:44, 12 July 2016 (UTC)


The Secret Life Of Machines - The Car part-1

Adding video of history of the engine/car.

I removed this from the article - see WP:COPYLINK. VQuakr (talk) 17:05, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

Beau de Rochas cycle[edit]

Alphonse Beau de Rochas described the four-stroke cycle from a thermodynamic point of view in 1862, long before Otto. So the so called "Otto cycle" is really the "Beau de Rochas cycle". --Sigmundg (talk) 02:38, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

No it isn't. Rochas never built anything and it's unlikely that he could have. His major contributions were in other areas. His name is remembered only because Daimler used the unbuilt Rochas patent theory to overturn 1 of Otto's 25 or so patents. Daimler, in fact, hire an attorney to dig up the Rochas patent, which Otto had never been aware of. There is NO WAY you could attribute any physical product to Rochas or claim his theoretical paper deserves consideration as an invention. Rochas should have had to built a working prototype to obtain a patent as Lenoir, Otto, and Daimler all did.
Otto developed three types of engines and worked 14 years spending every mark he could get to finally develop an engine that didn't explode after 5 minutes. Digitallymade (talk) 11:41, 8 July 2016 (UTC)
Rochas was copying the work of Sadi Carnot.Digitallymade (talk) 07:07, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Siegfried Marcus[edit]

Siegfried Marcus, an Austrian Jew, invented the first modern Car! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:43, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

This is a false statement. Marcus made a very primitive engine that was attached to a cart that could not achieve even walking speed. It ran at about 1 to 1.5 KM/H. Same for Lenoirs three types of automobiles from 1861 through 1863. The first vehicle that achieved significant speed and was useful as an automobile was the Daimler Reitwagen prototype. Marcus had no success and was just one of DOZENS of engineers who built primitive useless engines. The first automobile that was not considered a motorcycle today is Carl Benz 1886 automobile.

Otto Jewish?[edit]

From a British school science TV programme I heard in the 1970s I recall that a model of his internal combustion engine was hidden during the Second World War as, I recall it said, "the Nazis would have wanted to destroy it because Otto was a Jew", but it was hidden and preserved, and was shown on the programme. The article appears silent on this - is there evidence he was Jewish?Cloptonson (talk) 12:13, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

Just for Clarity[edit]

The modern automobile is not based on any of the three Otto engine types. While people have often called modern gasoline engines "Otto" engines this is actually an inaccurate and sloppy attribution. The Otto engine was never capable of more than 200 rpm. Otto's company abandoned the Otto engine in 1917 and switched entirely to Diesel Engine Production. Salient points:

  1. Otto Engines were huge for very low output
  2. Otto Engines ignition system did not support revolving speeds higher than 200 rpm
  3. Otto Engines ran on Illuminating gas until long after Daimler created the first liquid petroleum engine
  4. Otto Engines are PUSH engines using a layering system which causes a continuous push as the piston traveled
  5. Otto Engines could not be easily throttled

The modern automobile engine is in fact the Daimler Engine

  1. Daimler's engines ran on Liquid petroleum of the brand name Ligroin, which was a solvent (Hexane-N) and were the first Liquid Petroleum engines
  2. DMG engines were small
  3. The first DMG engine revved at 600 and very soon later reached 900 rpm
  4. Daimler's engine was easily throttleable
  5. Daimler's engine was an Explosion engine

Otto's company became the Deutz Company whose Diesel engines are closer to an Otto engine than Daimler's are. Daimler's company Became Daimler-Benz (now called Mercedes-Benz) and makes the same type of engine Daimler developed in 1883 Digitallymade (talk) 12:03, 8 July 2016 (UTC)

Earlier Patents?[edit]

It is clear from Otto history that he was aware of ONLY the Lenoir engine. He first engine built in 1861 was a copy of Lenoir's engine. All his work after that was his and his alone.

There were dozens of engineers who created patents and working prototype engines. The Otto Engine was the first commercially successful engine. Rochas never built an engine. Lenoir built cars in 1862. Otto's plant manager Gottleib Daimler who had seen the Lenoir engine built it for Otto and was unaware of the work of Carl Benz, which was not too far away from him. Otto's, Daimler's, and Benz companies all exist today because their inventions were significant and commercially successful. Simply having an idea that leads no where, deserves no more than a passing mention. Otto knew of Lenoir's engine only.

This is a common occurrence throughout history. Gustave Whitehead built the first airplane, but Wright get the credit. People who created patents for unsuccessful inventions are seldom remembered. If their patent didn't lead to progress, then it deserves no mention, such as Rochas and Lenoir.

Christian Huygens invented the internal combustion engine in 1678. The Barsanti engine bears no resemblance to the 3nd Otto engine which was a compressed charge engine. That is the engine referred to as the Otto engine and which was the foundations for Daimler's engine which is the foundation of all modern compressed charge ic engines.Digitallymade (talk) 06:37, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Note: The Barsanti Engine is a 2 stroke atmospheric engine.Digitallymade (talk) 19:59, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

The Rochas Patent[edit]

The only reason we know of the Rochas patent today is that Daimler used it to avoid paying royalties to Otto. Otto had 25 patents. The Rochas patent was used to void only 1 of them, in Germany. Rochas never built and engine. His patent was merely a reiteration of the world of Sadi Carnot.

Diesel also used the work of Sadi Carnot to build his engine in 1896.

The Otto engine originally looked like this and hardly changed through it's life. Only the 3rd Otto engine design is considered to be the Otto Engine.

The Otto Four Cycle Engine of 1876

There is no Rochas engine.

Barsanti's engine looks like this:

Engine in Milan

The Barsanti is a free piston engine like the 1864 Otto engine. It does not appear to compress the fuel charge or run on four cycles. I've found nothing in the provided reference to support the assertion about it that was made here.

This page is massively incorrect in every section.Digitallymade (talk) 07:19, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

The VDI (Association of German Engineers) did this:

The greatest honor, however, was given to him when in 1936 the VDI (verein deutscher ingenieure) let it be known, in the future all internal combustion engines ,, gasoline engines to name ", which suck the composite of fuel and air mixture and condense, to burn it in connection by means of a special ignition device. The VDI has then asked to follow this recommendation and thereby causes the label ,, gasoline engine "was included in the technical vocabulary, after the foreign has long ago used the same labeling. The implementation of the proposal is now read in the DIN standard 1940th There it says: Otto engine: internal combustion engine in which the combustion of the compressed fuel-air mixture is initiated by timed spark ignition. Digitallymade (talk) 20:05, 11 July 2016 (UTC)