Accident, suicide or murder. That is the question.

On this date in 1913 Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the diesel engine was on a ship traveling from Antwerp, Belgium to Harwick, England when he simply disappeared.

Almost a month later on October 10th a Belgian sailor saw a body floating in the North Sea and it was eventually identified as the body of Diesel.

Murder, Accident or Suicide

The mystery of Diesel’s death was never solved. Some believed he was murdered by big oil because his diesel engine could run on almost any combustible liquid.

Some thought he might have had too much to drink and simply fell overboard in a drunken stupor.

Still others thought he might have decided to end it all because he was literally flat broke at the time in spite of the success of his invention.

He was on his way to England to make a deal to install his diesel engine into British submarines. Yes, the Brits had submarines back then.

Some thought he might have been murdered for his intention to share his patents with the British.

World War I would begin just one year later. Countries were preparing for war.

The Diesel Engine

While Henry Ford and others were perfecting the internal combustion engine Rudolf Diesel was also changing the world.

Today there are no gasoline powered trains or 18-wheelers. The diesel engine can carry much heavier loads more efficiently than gasoline-powered vehicles.

In 1912, a year before his death, there were more than 70,000 diesel engines powering factories, and diesel generators in use all around the world.

Buses also started using diesel engines after WWII.

Some Final Thoughts

One more death of a person most of us have never heard of yet without his invention our current world would not be possible.

What happened to Adolf Diesel will probably never be known. Forensics at that time were a long way from state of the art.

Plus being in ocean water for nearly a month would destroy a lot of evidence. It’s a miracle his body was even found after that length of time.

The next time you pick up that can of stew off the grocery shelf you can think good ole Adolf for getting it to you.

Murder, accident or suicide — what’s your opinion?

Comments below.

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