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The engine company. DEUTZ®

125th anniversary of the death of Nicolaus August Otto

  • N. A. Otto founded the world's first engine factory in Cologne
  • Otto invented the four-stroke cycle despite having originally trained as a salesman
  • 1.3 billion engines worldwide use the four-stroke principle

Nicolaus August Otto, inventor of the combustion engine and founder of the company that is now DEUTZ AG, died on 26 January 1891, exactly 125 years ago today. The salesman from Holzhausen an der Haide recognised the potential of motorised drive systems at an early stage and in 1864 founded N.A. Otto & Cie., the world's first engine factory, together with the Cologne-born industrialist's son Eugen Langen. In 1867, at the World Fair in Paris, Otto and Langen presented the first atmospheric gas-powered engine, DEUTZ engine number 1, which won the exhibition's gold medal as "the most efficient drive machine". Otto's engine number 1 still works to this day and can be seen in the DEUTZ AG Technology Centre.

Cologne's standing as a cradle of global motorisation rests almost entirely on Otto's four- stroke cycle, which he perfected with the completion of the first prototype four-stroke engine in 1876 that worked by compressing a mixture of gas and air. Intake, compression, combustion and exhaust – these four strokes were to spread around the world and make the name Otto forever linked with the history of global motorisation. Today there are 1.3 billion engines worldwide that use the four-stroke principle

For further information on this DEUTZ AG press release, please contact

Public Relations
Janina Decker
Tel: +49 (0)221 822 2493
Fax: +49 (0)221 822 152 493