Tom Ogle: American mechanical engineer and inventor (1953 - 1981) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Tom Ogle
American mechanical engineer and inventor

Tom Ogle

Tom Ogle
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American mechanical engineer and inventor
A.K.A. Thomas Hans Werner Peter Wolfgang Dinglestadt Ogle, Thomas Ogle
Was Mechanic Inventor Mechanical engineer
From United States of America
Field Business Engineering
Gender male
Birth 1 January 1953
Death 19 August 1981 (aged 28 years)
Residence El Paso, Texas
The details


Tom Ogle (1953 - 19 August 1981) was an American inventor who claimed to have invented a modified carburetor which drastically improved fuel economy of the car.

Life and work

In 1977, Ogle, aged 23, created a device replacing the carburetor, which would allow the car to yield a much higher number of miles per gallon. He originally got the idea of this invention while operating a lawnmower. While working on a lawnmower, he accidentally created a hole in the lawnmower. He then used a vacuum line that runs from the carburetor to the engine and was able to run his lawnmower without the use of carburetor. Surprisingly, the lawnmower was able to run for 96 hours with fuel from its small tank.

In a 1978 interview with Ron Laytner, Ogle said: 

I was messing around with a lawn-mower when I accidentally knocked a hole in its fuel tank. I put a vacuum line running from the tank straight into the carburetor inlet. I just let it run and it kept running and running but the fuel level stayed the same. I got excited. The lawn-mower was running without a carburetor and getting tremendous efficiency.

With some modifications to his device, he applied his idea on the automobile engine and met with success after a first few failed attempts. He tested his innovation in a 1970 Ford Galaxie, a 427 hp V8 car, and was able to get 100 MPG. His test car became known as the "Oglemobile." He believed that the fuel-efficiency could be nine times higher on smaller, lighter cars, which were popular in Europe at the time.  

His device had a black box filter instead of the carburetor and a standard fuel pump. He injected the vaporized gasoline directly into the combustion chamber instead of using the liquid form. Instead of maintaining the fuel at ambient temperature and pressure, his design reduced the pressure and heated the gasoline to produce vapors. The vapors were combusted, and the car ran on fumes. This required the gas tank to be structurally supported as it was now acting as a pressure vessel.

Ogle received patent number 4,177,779 Dec. 11, 1979, which described "A fuel economy system for an internal combustion engine which, when installed in a motor vehicle, obviates the need for a conventional carburetor, fuel pump and gasoline tank. The system operates by using the engine vacuum to draw fuel vapors from a vapor tank through a vapor conduit to a vapor equalizer which is positioned directly over the intake manifold of the engine."

Ogle's modified car was rigorously tested and engineers found no evidence of malpractice. In one test for the media, he drove his Ford Galaxie and got 200 miles on a measured 2 gallons of gasoline. Unmodified, the car yielded only about 13 miles per gallon. The results surprised the testers, leading them to inspect the car for hidden fuel tanks. 

According to Ron Laytner, who interviewed Ogle, a financier by name of C.F. Ramsey signed a contract with Ogle for the production of his device. The agreement would let Ogle work on his device and Ramsey would take over the patent, distribution and development rights of the "Oglemobile." Ogle would receive $5,000 a month and funds for research and development, and also get 6 percent royalties when the device came to market.

Later, Ramsey sold the rights Advance Fuel Systems Inc. and Ogle was told he would get no royalties because Advance Fuel Systems was working on a device that got similar results but wasn't his invention.

Personal life

Amidst the quick success and the media attention Ogle was getting, his wife, Monika, left him with their five-year-old daughter Sherry.


Ogle died on 19 August 1981. He was declared dead at El Paso’s Eastwood Hospital. His death involved the overdose of alcohol and drug Darvon, a prescribed pain killer. Pathologists were uncertain whether the death was accidental or suicide, but many people, including some of his backers, believed it was neither. 

Although Ogle did not leave a will, his wife Monika won the right to oversee his estate.

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