At initiative of Manuel Bonnet, and with Jean-Louis Bruley's technical supervising, Spéos and Maison Nicéphore Niépce have decided to celebrate the bicentennial of the Pyreolophore by rebuilding it as it was originally. It is the first internal combustion engine ever, which was invented and patented by the Niépce brothers in 1807.
10 years later, they were the first in the world to make an engine work with fuel injection system.
A celebration took place at the occasion of the “Journées du Patrimoine” (National Heritage Days) 2008, in the very place of the invention…in the House of Nicéphore Niépce !
> See Pyreolophore in 3D
In partnership with the Institut Image de l'ENSAM (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers) in Chalon sur Saône, the Niépce House presents a 3D video showing the internal functioning of the Pyreolophore.
A creation by Hadrien Duhamel, supervised by Jean-Louis Bruley.
> See the exhibition
They participated to the reconstitution of the Pyréolophore:
From right to left, Jean-Louis Bruley, Olivier Pironneau from the Académie des Sciences, and his wife:
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It was in Nice that Claude and Nicephore started their first works as inventors.Their interest was first focused on creating a new engine principle based on the use of air dilatation during an explosion. Did they have any knowledge of the works of Huygens (1625-1695), who had already used air dilated by the explosion of gunpowder in a cylinder to move a piston ?
The Niépce brothers at first used as an explosive a powder made with the spores of a plant : the Lycopodium (broad moss), then they used coal mixed with resin. So they invented the first internal combustion engine, which they named Pyreolophore (Pyr=fire,eolo=wind and phore=I carry or I produce ).
In 1806, they wrote a first report.A commission of the National Institute, also known as the Sciences Academy, that had been given the task of evaluating the invention gave its verdict :
« The fuel ordinarily used by M.M.Niépce is made of lycopodium spores,the combustion of which being the most intense and the easiest one ; however this material being costly,they replaced it with pulverized coal and mixed it if necessary with a small portion of resin, which works very well , as was proved by many experiments.In M.M.Niépces machine no portion of heat is dispersed in advance ; the moving force is an instantaneous result,and all the fuel effect is used to produce the dilatation that causes the moving force.
In another experiment,the machine installed on a boat with a prow about two feet wide by three feet high , reduced in the underwater part and weighing about 2,000 pounds, went up the Saone river with just the engine power, with a speed greater than the rivers in the opposite direction; the amount of fuel burnt was around one hundred and twenty-five grains per minute,and the number of pulsations was twelve to thirteen in the same amount of time. The Commissioners then conclude that the machine proposed under the name Pyreolophore by M.M.Niépce is ingenious, that it may become very interesting by its physical and economical results, and deserves the approbation of the Commission »
Report by Lazare Carnot and C.L.Berthollet on December 15th 1806.
First plan of the pyreolophore, drawn by the Niépce brothers
Nicephore and Claude kept improving the Pyreolophore.On December 24th 1807, they informed Lazare Carnot that they had obtained a highly flammable powder by mixing one part resin with nine parts coal. But in 1816 their progress was not sufficient to obtain some subsidies from their invention.The patents end was near and Claude decided to go to Paris and then to England, hoping to exploit the engine.