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Stuff You Missed in History Class

The Life and Disappearance of Rudolf Diesel

We have enough pieces of the story of Rudolf Diesel’s life that remain consistent that we can fairly confidently construct his biography. But the way his life ended will forever be a mystery. 


  • Harford, Tim. “How Rudolf Diesel’s engine changed the world.” BBC. Dec. 19, 2016.
  • “Rudolf Diesel and his invention.” Mercedes-Benz. Feb 21, 2011.
  • Bryant, Lynwood. “The Development of the Diesel Engine.” Technology and Culture, vol. 17, no. 3, 1976, pp. 432–46. JSTOR,
  • “Dr. Rudolf Diesel Dead, It Is Feared.” The San Francisco Examiner. Oct. 1, 1913.
  • Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Rudolf Diesel”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 14 Mar. 2022,
  • “Dr. Diesel Vanishes From a Steamship.” New York Times. Oct. 1, 1913.
  • “No Light on Diesel’s Fate.” New York Times. October 3, 1913.
  • “Diesel Family in Straits.” New York Times. Oct. 13, 1913.
  • “The Tragedy of Genius.” Holyrood Banner. Jan. 8, 1914.
  • “Diesel Was Bankrupt.” New York Times. Oct. 15, 1913.
  • “No Ray of Light in Diesel Mystery.” New York Times. Oct. 2, 1913.
  • “Reports Dr. Diesel Living in Canada.” New York Times. March 16, 1914.
  • Lewis, Danny. “When the Inventor of the Diesel Engine Disappeared.” Smithsonian. Sept 29, 2016.

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