Lenoir's gas engine, 1860
Two-stroke double-acting single cylinder gas engine, patented by Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir, France, 1860, and made by Reading Iron Works Limited, Reading, Berkshire, England, 1865.
The first internal-combustion engine to be offered for sale, in 1860, Lenoir's engine was the ancestor of all petrol and diesel engines. At each stroke gas and air were drawn into the cylinder and fired by an electric spark; on the return stroke the burnt gases were flushed out. One hundred of these engines were sold, and this one is a very rare survivor. It was used to drive machinery in the workshop of the Patent Museum for about three years.