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The diesel engine didn’t just appear from thin air—it was an evolution of technology. In the years immediately following Rudolph Diesel’s 1895 patent, much of that evolution was dictated by those patents in Europe and the United States. Back then, engines that ran on heavy fuel oils were called “oil engines,” and it would be a few years until Diesel went from a capitalized proper noun to a lowercase common noun used to describe the compression-ignition engine.

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