Hello ladies and Gentlemen,
As most of you know Rudolf Diesel
is the inventor of the
(known as the “Oil engine” at the time) in 1892( the first running prototype
was buit in 1897). He designed it and patented it to run on peanut oil/vegetable oil. Can you believe that? An attempt to break away from petroleum
run transportation at the same time Gas engines started to become popular. Basically he saw the problems with steam engines and the loss of power due
to its inefficiency and began working on an efficient engine that ran on a cheap and renewable fuel. He is quoted in saying
"The use of
vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today. But such oils may become, in course of time, as important as petroleum and the coal tar
products of the present time."
“The diesel engine can be fed with vegetable oils and would help considerably in the development
of agriculture of the countries which use it.”
Okay so we all know that Mr. Ford was the Father of the automobile industry and he made his products so they would run on petroleum products ie
gasoline/petrol. We also know how important and influential he was in business, but also how important and controlling his friends were, especially in
the oil business. So we have this booming and growing new company set to take over the personal transportation niche and the forecast of billions was
right there for the grabbing. Then we have this man who invented a different style of engine that was cheaper to make, more efficient, maybe not as
fast, but also ran on a cheaper and replenishable resource that would make money flow to the farmers across the country. Keep this in mind, if you
will, as we go over the last moments of Rudolf Diesels life(as far as we know).
The year is 1913, September 29th to be exact and World War I(known as the Great War at the time) was about to get underway. England and Germany were
in an arms race as both were attempting to build large amounts of battleships as fast as they possibly could. The tension in the air was felt by
everyone. Diesel was going to sign a contract with the Consolidated Diesel
in the hopes of selling his patent to England giving them rights to his invention.
He booked passage aboard the S.S.
(a post office/passenger steamer) to cross the English Chanel and went aboard in Antwerp
He requested a wake up at 6:15am and retired to his cabin at approximately 10pm. This was the last time he was seen alive.
His cabin was found empty and there was evidence that he had not slept in it, his nightshirt was laid out neatly on his bed and his watch was on the
nightstand so he could see the time from a laying position. After further search his over coat and hat were discovered beneath the afterdeck railing.
It was ruled a suicide by leaping off the ship. He was about to sign a contract for, what is assumed, a great deal of money and he asked for an early
wake up, and there was no note leading to suicide. This is not what a suicidal man does. If he were to be considering suicide, I would think< he would
not have asked for a wake up and just let it be found he was missing and or would have written a note, not to mention the financial gain he was about
Ten days later an unrecognizable body was found floating in the North Sea near Norway by the crew of the Coertsen( a Dutch boat). The body was so
decomposed identification was left to the personal effects found on it and it was put back into the Sea(which was the tradition). Among the effects
were, a pill case, wallet, ID card, pocket knife, and an eyeglass case. On October 13th Rudolfs Son, Eugen, identified them as belonging to his
Father. A short time later Martha, Rudolfs Wife, opened a package that he had given to her prior to leaving with the instructions not to open it until
the following week. It contained 200,000 German Marks. Did he give this to her out of having a bad feeling his life was in danger or did he know he
was going to end it or did he disappear into the sunset under his own volition never to be seen or heard from again?
Looking at who would want him dead we have a few directions to look. First it could have been hired thugs from the oil companies sent to distinguish
the chance that their product(petroleum) would not be the first choice in fuels. It could have been the Germans attempting to stop the transaction
with England(the first Volkswagens ran on diesel) or it could have stemmed from a patent dispute with
I leave it up to you
to decide. Thanks for reading.