You could say this patent is a blast from the past, but would it work today?
They say that you can learn a lot by looking at the past and with that in mind, I think I may have found the answer to our problems with car exhaust fumes, pollution and global warming (said with tongue in cheek). It all dates back to the year 1904 when two guys from Philadelphia invented certain new and useful improvements in smoke consuming apparatus for locomotive boilers- patent 764,304. I love steam engines and loved watching them go by at the local train station in England. Sadly, they were being phased out and replaced by boring diesel locomotives. Whenever I go back to England I go to one of the restored lines that run steam engines and I stick my head out the window to enjoy that wonderful, unique smell of steam and coal. Now, I know that most of the locomotives in the US ran on either wood or oil and to me they are just not quite the same. But I think this invention will work no matter what type of fuel the locomotive ran on, and I say why can’t it apply to cars as well?
Our main objects are to provide for utilizing the movement of the locomotive when in service in producing a current or draft through a return-?ue connecting the smoke-box with the ?re-box, whereby, the unconsumed products of combustion are mainly returned to the latter, to provide, further, for producing a forced current or draft for the same purpose by means of steam, and to furnish in connection with the unconsumed products of combustion thus returned to the ?re-box a regulated supply of air directly blended there-with or introduced through the main body of fuel, whereby the most complete combustion practicable may be attained.
So basically, you suck the smoke back through the firebox to help complete the burn while adding in some fresh air to stop it from squelching the flame. So why can’t we do the same thing to a car? We would take the contents of the exhaust and feed it straight back into the engine to let it burn again – assuming that it didn’t burn completely the first time around. Of course, this wouldn’t get rid of many of the other toxins that add to pollution and I wonder how much it would reduce the total power of the engine by? However, there is one aspect of it that probably is used to some extent. In the steam locomotive, the flue is forced air and when put back into the fire box will cause it to burn hotter. The same principle applies to a turbo charger where the exhaust gasses are used to accelerate the air intake and with it the amount of fuel forced into the cylinders.
Another interesting thing about this patent is that it took only four months from filing to issuance. Today, it is more like four years.
Brian Bailey – keeping you entertained
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