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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The Bisbee Daily Review
December 31, 1922

Latest Engine Invented in France is Claimed to Be Ideal Motive Power

Will the Diesel engine finally be adapted to replace the spark ignition engine now used to propel automobiles?

This question, recurrent almost annually since the invention of the automobile, faces its last repetition with the announcement from Paris of the invention of a semi-Diesel type of engine for motor cars.

At the very beginning of the automobile industry, use of a Diesel engine was attempted on automobiles. But, although used for stationary purposes and in submarines, the engine would not work well in a moving, vibrating machine.

The engine, with spark ignition, that has replaced the Diesel, however uses up costly gasoline, while the air compression engine feeds on a cheap, low grade of oil. A combination of the good in both these engines, therefore, would make an ideal power plant for automobiles.

This ideal—or the nearest to it—French automotive engineers believe is finally attained in the semi-Diesel automobile engine tested recently on a trip between Paris and Bordeaux. The engine, according to reports, burns low-grade oil which costs 12 cents a gallon in France, as compared to 56 cents for gasoline. At the same time it retains the advantages o fthe spark-ignition engine now in use.

Besdies, its inventors say the semi-Diesel costs less for upkeep and is simpler and therefore cheaper to make than the present type. Experiments are still going on, with the idea of installing the engine on Paris buses.

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