Otto Langen Fluted Cylinder Engines

 ***  All Fluted cylinder engines appear to have been of the  1/2 HP size  ***

Earliest engines manufactured in a glorious Grecian ionic column style were the result of several years of research by Otto and his counterpart Eugene Langen. Initial production of these engines commenced in 1864 and continued until 1872 from their factory in Cologne, Germany. Langen, the cosmetic mastermind of the project, designed the Greek pillar cylinder. This early design incorporated two shafts, a main shaft which the flywheel was attached to and a cam shaft that intermittently engaged the cam followers. From compiled information, these early Otto-Langen engines appeared to vary somewhat with almost each example. The first couple used a precarious pair of vertical rods to guide the piston/rack assembly with the main shaft gear. Acting as a crosshead it can be assumed that this system was very prone to maladjustment by jarring of these rods. The most famous and important of the Otto-Langen examples incorporated this design; it was exhibited in the Paris Exposition of 1867 and was almost overshadowed by the Lenoir non-compression engine. Fortunately for the German duo, engines were judged by efficiency and performance. After several long tests, the grand prize was awarded to them. For its day it was the most efficient gas engine ever produced. None used less fuel per HP per hour, a consequence of the free piston, allowing unrestricted expansion of the gasses. Complete expansion utilizes more power from the expansion and allows for cooler operation. As strange as this engine appeared, not to mention its spastic running characteristics and reportedly loud operation, the beginning of its success started here. Some were produced with two slide valves, the second valve controlling incoming gas to the main slide valve. Later versions were manufactured without vertical "cross head" rods and incorporated a simple notched bar contacting the smooth side of the rack to maintain gear contact. These early Fluted cylinder engines were all made with out governors and as far as can be determined from the existing examples each one was unique as the development was a "work-in-progress"


This is the original German Patent that the earliest 1/2 HP engines were designed from.




Serial Number 1 

Year 1867

Current Location - Porz (Koln), Germany


This is the first " production engine" and is the exact engine that was shown at the 1867 Paris Exposition.  Although production documentation and patent drawings suggest earlier designs were experimented with, this was the basic layout used for Otto & Langens earliest engines.  





      Very rare video of this engine being started - Filmed at the Deutz Engine Co. private collection.

                                             Shown here with their permission





Serial Number ___  ?

Year  - 1867

Current Location - Australia


This engine is most likely the second oldest Otto Langen Engine.  It was probably built in 1867 as well.  There are several differences between this engine and "Number 1".  The most noticeable being the addition of a shorter rack guide resulting in the elimination of the vertical guide rods.  This engine is in the Powerhouse Museum in Australia and has suffered significant damage to the top plate from a fall.





Serial Number ___  (earlier than Sn 7)

Year  - 1867

Current Location - Kinzers, PA, USA

The history of this engine is quite interesting.  It is believed that this engine was brought back to the USA by Washington Roebling ( the engineer who designed  the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC) during a 1867 trip to Europe looking for new technology.  This engine eventually ended in the Stevens Institute in New Jersey were it spent in storage.   The building it was housed in caught on fire during world war 2 and damaged the engine.  It was purchased by a William Willock and willed upon his death to the Rough and Tumble Engineers Historical Assn near Lancaster, Pa.  This is most likely the oldest operating internal combustion engine in the United States.  It can be seen in operation each year during their show. It is also the only existing Otto Langen engine with two slide valves.  A second smaller slide valve seats against the face of the main slide cover - it controls fuel and exhaust.  Some time in its history ( while probably at the Stevens Institute, it was outfitted with a large flyball governor.  This is not original and can be proven as the fasterners used in its assembly and attachment to the engine frame are SAE rather than Metric.


Video of this engine running at Kinzers, Pa August 1999 





Serial Number 7

Year  - 1867 / 1868

Current Location - Deutsche Museum Munich, Germany

The history of this engine is unknown to the writer.  It is noted to be Serial Number 7 by Deutz and appears to be operational.  This engine has 1 slide valve and shares similar characteristics with the Kinzers engine.