A revolution in transport took place once a piston could be driven by internal combustion rather than by steam pressure. At once lighter and more compact than steam engines and with a fuel far easier to handle than coal, the internal combustion engine led directly to our modern age of air and car travel.

The papers in this innovative book cover the development of all forms of IC driven piston engines from the mid 19th century to the present day, together with papers on fuel technology, component design and biography. Aeronautical and automotive engines feature strongly, particularly in the very competitive environments of racing, record breaking, and war.  Some of the authors have been directly concerned with the developments that they are writing about.

Amongst the many subjects included in the book are the following:

  • The Barsanti and Matteucci free piston engine of 1853
  • Early gas engines
  • Paxman and the diesel engine
  • Ruston’s locomotive engine developments
  • Napier multi-cylinder engine history
  • The Mitchell crankless engine
  • R&D at the Ricardo Company
  • High octane fuels
  • Gas producers from the point of view of modern practice
  • Valve cooling, the key to record breaking
  • The Blackburn aircraft and motorcycle engines
  • Sir Roy Fedden and his engines