Francois Isaac de Rivaz

Tuesday 19th December 1752

Born on this day, Francois Isaac de Rivaz, a French internal combustion engine pioneer. He invented an internal combustion engine with electric ignition and described it in a French patent published in 1807. A mixture of hydrogen and oxygen was manually ignited by electric spark powered it, but the engine neither involved the in-cylinder compression, a crank, nor a connecting rod. In 1808 he fitted it into a primitive working vehicle which can be called ‘the world’s first internal combustion powered automobile, but it was a very unsuccessful design.

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