The disappearance of Rudolph Diesel

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You can think about those moments when you are driving over your men's roads in your diesel, when the traffic does not require too much attention from you. About the phenomenon of diesel, for example. Perhaps you have the idea that the 'oil' that you have just refueled and that keeps on smelling for so long on your shoes, clothes or hands is the name carrier of the engine in your vehicle? Nope, the diesel is named after the inventor, Rudolph Diesel born on 18 in March 1858 in Paris.


Child of a parents couple who emigrated from Germany, Bavaria, who had to pack their things again and ended up in the British capital because of the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war. From there, Rudolph was 'exported' to an uncle and aunt in Augsburg, Germany. An absolute globetrotter for that time. Once there, he studied mathematics after completing high school. A gifted student who after completing his studies on 28 February received 1892 patents for the 'self-igniter', the Diesel engine named after him, that he devised and constructed. At the time, the conventional steam engine only had a ten percent return on the 'fuel', coal and even wood. Rudolph Diesel was able to convince the world that the engine he invented could deliver an 75 percent efficiency. In reality, this was only 26 percent ...; 'manipulation' is therefore nothing new in this world.

All burner

He also proved that not only diesel oil could be smoked by his engine, any kind of vegetable oil could be used up to frying oil. A diesel engine needs no ignition. The fuel and oxygen introduced into the cylinder, as well as extremely high compression, ensure that the mixture ultimately 'explodes' automatically due to the associated heat. The world was upside down. It is 29 September 1913 when he - now 55 years old - steps on board the Steamship 'Dresden' in Antwerp - a so-called 'mail boat' to Great Britain. Because of a meeting with the Consolidated Diesel Manufacturing Company in London. After an extensive dinner, he goes to his cabin around 22.00, but not after he has indicated that he wants to be woken the next morning at 06.15.


No one has seen, heard or spoken to him afterwards, because 'waking' was not responded to, his cabin was empty. No one had even lain in bed, although his nightgown was on the bed, his watch on the bedside table, and in such a way that when he woke up, he could immediately read the time. His hat and jacket were also found. The coat neatly folded, the hat on and everything under the railing of the aft deck ... A big mystery. Suicide or murder? Until now, that is still the big question. More than 10 days after his mysterious disappearance, on 10 October to be precise, a Belgian sailor discovered a body floating in the sea. It was fished directly from the sea and inspected. It turned out to be Rudolph Diesel's body. In the far-reaching state of dissolution, personal things were secured - as it is called - his clothing, an identity card, his pocket knife and glasses case, after which the body was returned to the sea. Three days later, Rudolph's son confirmed that it was indeed his father's stuff ... Although there was strong thought of suicide, there are also various indications that he was murdered. Commissioned by the army or large industrialists. Not long after his disappearance, his wife opened a bag that, in accordance with his express wish, had to remain closed until one week after his departure. In that bag include 200.000 German marks in cash, various bank statements from which it became clear that there was no lack of money, but also an agenda in which the day of 29 September 1913 was crossed out ... His body was never recovered. Little sad ending for a brilliant inventor who changed the world through his inventiveness.


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