Eugenio Barsanti

Deceased Person

1821 – 1864


Who was Eugenio Barsanti?

Father Eugenio Barsanti, also named Nicolò, was an Italian engineer, who together with Felice Matteucci of Florence invented the first version of the internal combustion engine in 1853. Their patent request was granted in London on June 12, 1854, and published in London's Morning Journal under the tile "Specification of Eugene Barsanti and Felix Matteucci, Obtaining Motive Power by the Explosion of Gasses", as documented by the Fondazione Barsanti e Matteucci,

Barsanti was born in Pietrasanta, Tuscany. Lean and short of stature, he studied in a Catholic scientific-oriented institute near Lucca, in Tuscany, and became a novitiate in Florence in 1838 of the Piarist Fathers or Scolopi, who were known for being open to scientific study.

In 1841 Barsanti began teaching in the Collegio San Michele, situated in Volterra. Here, during a lecture describing the explosion of mixed Hydrogen and air, he realised the potential for using the energy of the expansion of combusting gases within a motor.

Subsequently, when teaching in a college level institute in Florence he met Felice Matteucci, a hydraulic engineer. Matteucci appreciated the idea for the engine, and the two men worked together on it for the rest of their lives.


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Oct 12, 1821
  • Italy
Apr 19, 1864

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