How Diesel Changed Farming

Check out how the invention of the diesel internal combustion engine irrevocably changed how we farm today.

Dr. Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel and the “compression engine” he invented.

When Caterpillar delivered its new 60 diesel crawler for testing at the University of Nebraska tractor test facility on June 14, 1932, diesel fuel was so hard to find that No. 2 furnace oil was used instead.

As Test No. 208, the Cat 60 was the first diesel tractor tested under the Nebraska Tractor Test Law. An International Model 284 was the last tractor to be tested at the University of Nebraska using other than diesel fuel (gasoline) in Test No. 1277 on May 24, 1977. During the intervening 45 years, evolving technology advanced use of the more fuel-efficient diesel engine for agricultural tractors, as well as for equipment in most other industries.

The diesel internal combustion engine differs from the gasoline engine in that, in the diesel, compressed hot air ignites the fuel rather than a spark plug (compression ignition rather than spark ignition).

The Caterpillar Sixty diesel, the first diesel-powered tractor, takes to the field in 1932. The 4-cylinder engine displaced 1,099 cubic inches and produced 77hp at 700rpm.

Dr. Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel invented the compression ignition engine that bears his name, obtaining a patent and running his first engine in 1892. The engine was fueled by peanut oil. The first commercially viable engine was available in 1897. Early diesel engines were large and heavy and operated at low speeds due to both the then-current state of metallurgy and the limitations of existing compressed air-assisted fuel injection systems.

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The Roosa Master injection pump has a single high pressure pumping unit that rotates inside a cam ring. It's referred to as a distributor or rotary pump. The in line style pump is a multi pump and has a high pressure pumping unit for each injector.


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