Remembering Nikolaus Otto

Nikolaus August Otto was born at Holzhausen, Germany on this day in 1832. In 1861 he patented a two-stroke gas powered (gas, not gasoline) internal combustion engine. The only previous internal combustion engine was best suited to converting fuel to waste heat and the destruction of its bearings. In 1876 he created the first four-stroke piston engine, the first engine able to compete with steam for powering vehicles and the design followed by almost every automobile since. Lacking quotes on the Otto-cycle engine, we'll go with Cars.

Telling the future by looking at the past assumes that conditions remain constant. This is like driving a car by looking in the rearview mirror.
     – Herb Brody

If automobiles had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside.
     – Robert X. Cringeley

A car can massage organs which no masseur can reach. It is the one remedy for the disorders of the great sympathetic nervous system.
     – Jean Cocteau, 1889 – 1963

Admit it, sport-utility-vehicle owners! It's shaped a little differently, but it's a station wagon! And you do not drive it across rivers! You drive it across the Wal-Mart parking lot!
     – Dave Barry

Like cars in amusement parks, our direction is often determined through collisions.
     – Yahia Lababidi

An automobile goes nowhere efficiently unless it has a quick, hot spark to ignite things, to set the cogs of the machine in motion. So I try to make every player on my team feel he's the spark keeping our machine in motion. On him depends our successes.
     – Knute Rockne, 1888 – 1931

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James A. Restucci is the author of this blog. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Internal License.

4 Responses to Remembering Nikolaus Otto

  1. jimr says:

    Thanks for the comments All, Libby, I agree; however being a techie, the quote by Robert Cringeley has to be my favorite [:)]

  2. Libby says:

    I especially enoyed Herb Brody’s comment. His car analogy can be applied to politics also. That’s why I liked it. Also liked Cringeley’s comparison and I love anything that Dave Barry writes. He and I think alike when it comes to SUVs…To funny!

  3. TVNews says:

    “Four stroke engine: Suck, squeeze, bang, blow.”
    – A mechanic working on an ambulance at the Denver city shops back in the 1970s.

  4. EagleWatch says:

    A bit off subject, but I can’t let Knute Rockne go by without one my favorite halftime pep-talks (a skill at which Rockne excelled).

    ESPN asked a Notre Dame player which of Lou Holtz’s halftime talks was most motivating. He laughed and said he’d never forget halftime during a game against USC in which the first half was a Notre Dame disaster. The team filed into the locker room and sat around waiting for Holtz. When the door opened and he stuck his head in, he said, “Oh, I’m sorry girls, I was looking for the Notre Dame football team,” and closed the door as he left. That was it. They did’t see him again until they went out on the field for the second half.

    Needless to say, Notre Dame went on to make up for the first half and won the game.