The Evolution of the Diesel Powered Engine Throughout Time


Photo by CC user martin Abegglen on Flickr.


The diesel engine got its name from Rudolph Diesel, a German inventor who managed to build a compressed engine in the late 19th century. He patented the early versions and went on to develop the engine over the next few years. The engine is called a compressed engine because the ignition comes from compressing the air inside the cylinder, which heats up and this causes the diesel fuel that is injected into the cylinder to ignite.

Compression Ignition

An internal combustion engine has spark plugs that create a spark each time the piston pushes the air and gasoline mixture, whereas a diesel engine works by compressing the diesel fuel and air, causing it to ignite. At the time of Rudolph Diesel’s creation, steam power was the predominant method to drive machinery, and with a more efficient power unit, the diesel engine was developed continually from that time on. Diesel engines are quite robust and will generally last for many years, and if you are in Western Australia, and your engine needs repairing, consider engine reconditioning in Perth from Noorderman Diesel, a company that has many years of hands-on experience in reconditioning diesel engines of all kinds.

Larger Diesel Engines

In the first decade of the 20th century, diesel engines were fitted to ships, replacing the traditional steam power, with the Norwegians and the Danes being the first to use them in vessels. Shortly after this, German U boats were equipped with diesel engines, and in 1922, the first tractor used a diesel engine. Before long, trucks were fitted with this new type of engine, with two German manufacturers, MAN and Benz, introducing them into their vehicles.


This US company developed diesel engines, which were much more efficient than the steam tractors of that time, which were very heavy and regularly sank into the ground, causing costly delays. They exported their agricultural tractors with diesel engines to the UK and Europe just before the start of World War 1. During the war, diesel powered tractors were extensively used to transport large guns to the front line, and the British government placed a large order for Holt tractors, as they saw this as a more efficient power unit than anything else they had tried.

Modern Diesel Engines

Today’s diesel engines are very refined and are a popular choice for many motorists. The engines are robust and will last for many years, and with a diesel engine rebuild, all worn parts are replaced and the engine is good to go. There are online companies who specialise in diesel parts and service, so if your engine has lost a bit of power and has done a few hundred thousand miles, it might be time to have it reconditioned.

Modern diesel engines are as efficient and their gasoline counterparts, and in terms of performance, they can more than match any gasoline engine, and they are the chosen power unit for most  commercial vehicles of today.