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Jean-Joseph Etienne Lenoir

 Engineer (1822- 1900)

Jean-Joseph Etienne Lenoir was born in Mussy-la-Ville (near Musson on the Belgian-French border) and studied electrical engineering in Paris. He went on to make improvements to the electric telegraph, and is best-known for inventing the first internal combustion engine, a single-cylinder, two-stroke engine fuelled by a mixture of coal gas and air. The engine was fitted into three-wheeled cars made by Gauthier in France and Lenoir Gas Engines in London. He launched a petrol engine with a primitive carburettor in 1863 and fitted it in a car which he drove from Paris to Joinville-le-Pont (on the River Marne South-East of Paris) and back in 11 hours. Lenoir’s demonstartion resulted in an order for several cars from the Tsar of Russia, but most of his engines powered printing presses, water pumps and machine tools in factories. His designs were rendered obsolete by the rapid development of petrol and diesel engine technology and he died in Paris.

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