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By P.R. Halmos

Halmos P.R. i would like to be a mathematician (Springer, 1985)(ISBN 0387960783)

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As a small start-up firm, EMC had scant knowledge of electrical equipment technology and thus little ability to take advantage of economies of scope. Instead, EMC relied on its marketing expertise to attain dominance in the railcar industry. As railcar demand began to decline, first as a result of war, then as a result of depression and market saturation, the three companies sought to boost sales by designing and manufacturing diesel locomotives. At GE, diesel locomotive R&D efforts occurred during the late 1910s, when diesel locomotive technology was as yet too primitive.

Winton had produced its first diesel engine in 1913, a 175-hp stationary behemoth used to provide power for Winton’s Cleveland factory. By 1916, Winton had three sizes of marine diesel engines in production. One of these, the Model W-40, weighed forty-five tons, yet produced only 450 hp (an abysmal ratio of ten horsepower per ton), making it far too heavy for railroad applications. In 1928 EMC and Winton began a cooperative research and development program to design more suitable diesel engines. These efforts failed, however, owing largely to Winton’s poor production techniques and limited technical knowledge.

Injectors, designed to spray a fine mist of diesel fuel into the cylinders under high pressure, frequently malfunctioned as a result of high temperatures, metal fatigue, and poor construction. In addition, Kettering realized that metallurgy had not yet caught up with diesel-engine technology. Because of their compression ignition, diesel engines typically operated with a cylinder pressure of 650 pounds per square inch, compared to 125 pounds for a gasoline engine using spark ignition. While gasoline engines had compression ratios of six-to-one, diesels utilized compression ratios of sixteen-to-one.

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