Biography of Jean Joseph Étienne Lenoir (1822-1900)

French engineer of Belgian origin, born on January 12, 1822, at Mussy-la-Ville (Belgium), and died on August 4, 1900, in La Varenne-Saint-Hilaire (France). Engineer training self-taught and responsible for a considerable number of inventions, including an electric brake (1855), an electric motor (1856), a counter of water (1857), a mechanical Kneader (1857), a controller for dynamos (1859) and an autografico Telegraph (1865), Lenoir was made famous by building, in 1860, one of the first models of internal combustion engine that ran on gaswhich subsequently perfected according to the scheme of functioning based on four-stroke Bean of Rochas cycle. The invention was applied by Lenoir, three years later and in a version improved, to a three-wheeled vehicle that arrived to walk 10 km, feat that marked the birth of the engine explosion and the burgeoning automobile industry.

Son of a Belgian soldier, Lenoir emigrated to Paris in the year 1838 in search of Fortune; It was in absolute poverty, with only elementary education, without any trade and resources with those who hold themselves in the Parisian capital. After spending a long time playing all kinds of trades, as a waiter, Cook and enameller, among other occupations, Lenoir acquired an important statement by itself and turned especially in the study of chemistry, in whose field it managed to pull out, in 1847, his first invention: the white tin oxide without enamel. Following the same line of research and experiments, in 1851 he brought to light a revolutionary procedure for electroplating which was quickly acquired for use by the reputed firm Christofle. Thanks to the economic security that reported you your inventions, thereafter Lenoir could devote himself entirely to what they liked: invent new electromechanical devices applicable to the industrial process in full swing by that time.

In the year 1860, Lenoir unveiled in Paris which, no doubt, would be his most famous invention, a dual action of combustion gas engine. The principle on which was based the machine of Lenoir was the double-acting steam engine. Lenoir invented an engine working without understanding, with a combustion produced alternately above and below the piston. At the same time, engine had two distinct and two exhaust gas inputs. The input and output of the gas was controlled by valves. Gas ignition was carried out by an electrical device of induction through a distributor ignition and spark plugs. The main problem of the Lenoir engine lay in the valves, which are heated in excess, so it should always be well greased; that is why at first some ironizaran on the motor calling him "ball rolling oil". Although, in essence, none of the elements used by Lenoir in the engine was new, the truth is that the principle consisting in the explosive mixture inside the cylinder Yes was totally new and revolutionary, providing both technical and economic success to its inventor. To account for this, suffice it to say that, in the year 1865, had sold 400 machines in France and more than 1,000 units in the United Kingdom, where it was mainly used in the textile, printing and manufacturing propulsion pumps. The two keys to the resounding success of the engine were, on the one hand, its simplicity and easily to be made, making it possible to manufacture in series; and, secondly, that the invention worked on a regular basis.

Encouraged by his good star, and after three years of feverish experiments and modifications, in 1863 Lenoir improved the previous results when attaching your explosion engine, significantly modified to a three-wheeled vehicle. Lenoir used lighting gas as fuel to propel the vehicle. The piston engine was mounted in a drawer beneath the rear axle of the vehicle, which operated through a connecting rod and an eccentric, a chain wheel located in the center of the lower part of the vehicle, which in turn was attached by a chain of links with a second chain wheel, mounted on the rear axle. The new problem with the engine lived this time in high gas consumption, defect that was gradually rectified as they were incorporating new innovations in the design of the engine.

Naturalized French in 1870 as a prize to the services provided to the country during the hard siege that suffered at the hands of the Prussian troops commanded by Marshal Bismarck, eight years later received the Montyon Prize awarded by the Paris Academy of Sciences and the Argenteil of 12,000 francs Prize, awarded by the society for the promotion of science and the arts. But, despite having devoted his entire life to work and have the Legion of Honor and a host of awards and distinctions earned in different competitions, Lenoir died practically ruined. In 1880 he published the work Recherches sur le tannage des cuirs par l´ozone.