January 24, 1860 – Lenoir patents the internal combustion engine

Patents for internal combustion engines date back to as far as 1807, but none were considered commercially successful until engineer Jean Joseph Étienne Lenoir of Mussy-la-Ville, Luxembourg in modern day Belgium came up with his own design. He received a patent for his engine on this day in 1860. His design was the first to burn a mixture of coal gas and air ignited by a “jumping sparks” ignition system. By 1865 Lenoir sold 143 of his engines in Paris alone. While the engine was mostly used for stationary purposes such as power plants, printing presses, water pumps and tooling, Lenoir developed a few automobiles between 1860 and 1863, most notably his Hippomobile. The three wheeled wagon was powered by a 2543 cc engine that produced 1.5 horsepower. In 1863 it was successfully driven from Paris to Joinville-le-Point and back, a total distance of 22 km (14 mi), in about 90 minutes in each direction. Lenoir Gas Engine on display at Quartier Des Arts-Et-Metiers, Paris. By Daryl Mitchell. https://flic.kr/p/qaqUud CC2.01863 “Hippomobile” by Étienne Lenoir, contemporary depiction.

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