The Pyréolophore

The fuel for the world's first internal combustion engine was exploding plant spores.

Details here.

And here.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Oct 13, 2016
Category: Inventions, Nature, Nineteenth Century

You have to start somewhere. Some aspects of the operation reminds me of portions of semi-automatic rifles, where combustion gases are used to operate the load / cocking mechanism. The use of the engine in a boat applied more of a jet principle than turning a screw for propulsion. Very clever!

At first I thought that the description at the link had an error when describing the number of cycles as being "12 to 13 per minute." But after watching the virtual reconstruction and remembering watching some very large steam engines from the same period I conclude that the description is correct.
Posted by KDP in Madill, OK on 10/13/16 at 10:00 AM
Change the moss dust to nuclear fuel and you have Project Orion!
Posted by Phideaux in his own little world on 10/13/16 at 11:27 AM
Phideaux, have you seen any Fithp hanging around lately?
Posted by KDP in Madill, OK on 10/13/16 at 11:49 AM
It's too bad about their moves to coal and naphtha. They could also have been the first greenies, with boats full of moss gardens and moss drying plants.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 10/13/16 at 12:29 PM
@ KDP -- not since I stopped taking pills given to me by strangers at parties.
Posted by Phideaux in his own little world on 10/13/16 at 11:15 PM
Fun thing about lycopodium powder: it's still used to create the flash-bang in some magic tricks. And in some chemistry displays, which often aren't much different.
Posted by Richard Bos in The Netherlands on 10/14/16 at 02:27 PM
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