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Otto’s 1876 four-stroke experimental engine. It made a whopping 3 hp at 180 rpm. This engine still exists, still runs, and can be viewed at the Deutz Museum in Cologne, Germany. Deutz AG
The company had just transitioned to Gasmotoren-Fabrik Deutz when this experimental diesel was built in 1898. It was the first diesel engine for the company and the first cross head diesel, meaning it had a multisection connecting rod. This system would be used in many large diesels for decades to come. Deutz AG

If you ask average American diesel enthusiasts about Deutz diesels, they’ll reply, “Yeah, those German air-cooled jobs.” Deutz air-cooled diesels held a sizable commercial market share here from the early 1960s until emissions requirements regulated most of them out of the market in the 2000s.

The Deutz DNA goes back to the beginning of internal combustion. Founder Nicolaus Otto began working on a variation of the compressed-charge, four-stroke internal combustion engine in 1861. In 1864, he teamed up with money man Eugen Langen and formed NA Otto & Cie in Cologne, Germany. In 1876, Otto patented a compressed-charge, four-stroke cycle internal combustion engine (hence the term “Otto cycle” for four-stroke engines). Theirs was the first company formed solely to design and build internal combustion engines. Otto’s four-stroke patent was challenged in 1886 and nullified because of an obscure French patent from more than 20 years before. As a result, the Otto cycle was clear for others to develop. Good for the world but bad for Otto and company.

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