Tag Archive: ettore bugatti

Nikolaus August Otto (1832 – 1891), German by nationality  ,  was a travelling salesman and got interested in the Lenoir engine. The Lenoir atmospheric engine ran at 4% efficiency and Otto was contemplating to improve the engine. He , along with Carl Eugen Langen formed the company, NA Otto & Cie to manufacture these engines. This was probably the first engine manufacturing factory in the world.

In 1867, they developed the Otto-Langen atmospheric engine which won many awards and contracts.
The 1867 Otto-Langen atmospheric engine –
This engine could produce power in the range of 0.25 HP to 3 HP. The exploding combustion of the gas lifted the piston, creating a partial vacuum  The piston is returned back to its position by gravity, in the process doing work. The limitation of this engine to go beyond 3 HP was due to the design which requires headroom for this engine. Watch a video of of the Otto-Langen engine working –  (Click Here)
In 1869, they moved the company to the town of Deutz and renamed their company as Gasmotoren – Fabrik Deutz.
In 1872, the management brought in Gottileb Daimler as the factory manager and Wilhelm Maybach as the design director.
Nikolaus Otto and Eugen Langen continued to work in trying to improve the efficiency of the atmospheric engine. In 1876 , they developed the first successful 4-cylinder , compression engine, running on illuminating gas (coal gas). The thermodynamic cycle came to be known as Otto cycle and the engine “Gas Engine”. Later on the engine was modified to run on Petrol (gasoline) but the name “Gas Engine” stuck on and even now Petrol engines are referred as Gas Engines.
The Otto Cycle – also referred to as the Constant Volume cycle
Nikolaus Otto wanted to concentrate on large stationary engines where as Gottileb Daimler wanted to concentrate on small automobile engines. This led to Gottileb Daimler quitting the company in 1882, taking Wilhelm Maybach along with him to form his own company – Daimler AG as we know today.
In 1886 , Nikolaus Otto lost his patent right of the Otto engine over recently discovered 1862 patent of Alphonse Beau de Rochas. This engine design was similar to Nikolaus Otto’s design but was only on paper. This led to many companies manufacturing Otto cycle engines.
During the war , the company was renamed as Klockner Humbolt Duetz AG (KHD) and later as Deutz AG.
Some the well known Automotive legends have worked in Deutz AG before moving out and starting their own companies – Gottileb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, Prosper L’Orange, Rudolf Diesel, Robert Bosch, Ettore Bugatti.
The Deutz AG logo

The history of De Dietrich et Cie can be traced back to 1684 when Jean de Dietrich bought over a forge and came to be known as the “King of iron”. De Dietrich expanded in to manufacture of railway carriages after 1800. The Franco-Prussian war of 1870 split their factories between two countries – Luneville(France) and Niederbronn (Germany).

In 1896 , De Dietrich further expanded in to Automobile production. They built their first automobile with the 2-cylinder engine procured from Amedee Bollee, elder brother of Leon Bollee. The 1896 De Dietrich car –

In 1898 , they further refined the design and introduced the “Torpilleur”  with a 4-cylinder engine. The 1898 de Dietrich Torpedo –

By 1899/1900 , De Dietrich had tied up with Vivinus of Belgium to produce cars at their Niederbronn factory  and Turcat-Mery at their Luneville plant , under the De Dietrich badge. A De Dietrich badge Vivinus and Turcat-Mery cars –



In 1902, De Dietrich engaged Ettore Bugatti, a young and award winning engineer, at their Niederbronn factory to design develop new cars. One of the well know car being the type 5 –

In 1904 , Ettore Bugatti left De Dietrich to join Mathis Car Company and, in the  same year , De Dietrich closed their Niederbronn factory and shifted the entire automobile production to Luneville factory. In celebration , the word Lorraine was added to the De Dietrich name and the company name was changed to Lorraine-Dietrich. The Cross of Lorraine was adopted as the logo.

In 1907 , Lorraine-Dietrich acquired the Italian luxury and race care maker  Isotta-Fraschini which in turn brought in technology like four wheel brakes and overhead cam engines.

Lorraine- Dietrich was involved in racing and had won many major automobile races of that time including the Tour de France. A 1915 Lorraine-Dietrich race car –

During the world war I , Lorraine- Dietrich was involved in the manufacture of aircraft engines.

After the war , automobile production was restarted. A 1924 Lorraine-Dietrich –

Automobile business became unprofitable and ultimately closed down in 1935. The Luneville factory was converted to manufacture of railway coaches.

The Lorraine-Dietrich logo –

The logo of Turcat-Mery and Vivinus which were sold under the De Dietrich badge –