Cold… silence… Then, with a flick of the wrist, electrical currents rushing to the first relays. Clicks of engagement. The first rotor starts rotating. Fuel starts flowing towards its final destination to go up in flames. Then, the activation of a solenoid pushing against the force of the spring that has been holding him company since he could remember. Together, perfectly balanced to push each other around. A high stuttering noise of engagement of gears occurs. The first rotation… nothing… the second rotation… nothing… than… with simple compression or the help of a little spark, the beast comes to life and with a mighty roar and a deep breath he sets his presents. Fuel rushing, oil pumping and coolant flowing through its veins. Cams working in perfect harmony with the valves. Open… close… open… close… a feast of air, fuel, sparks, flames and gasses. The little squeaking of all the gears and belts working in perfect harmony. Cylinders engineered to perfection. Tight tolerances. Craftsmanship of manufacturing. All the organs focused on their task, fulfilling their life’s purpose. Pumping, pushing, rotating, scraping, rolling, compressing, releasing, lubricating, sparking, generating, storing. Like the movement of a clock, all set to the correct timing. Producing a powerful rotation with a muscular torque. Set to the right gear and ready to go. A little squeaky noise of the clutch plates engaging… humming of the engine through a light touch of the throttle… and then… Movement. Speed goes up. Second gear, third gear. All are grunting and sweating under their workload. More power! More revs! Fourth gear, fifth gear! Heat… noise… After a hellish gowning of hard work, the revs and thus the speed stabilize. The gears found their final transmission. Although all are under pressure and working as hard as they can… It seems as though that there is peace. The sound of the components falls in the background and the balance of harmonized work brings with it a satisfying relief. There is a feeling of interdependent-ship. The one needs the other and all know this to be true. You do not work just for yourself; you work together to reach a common goal. If one fails, all will fail.
Slowing down, then going again. Thousands of times in its lifetime did it do as it was commanded. It is getting tired. All the pressure, all the work… years have all the components worked like a well-oiled machine. Although a few times a component had given its last breath; a bearing… the starter motor… the coolant pump… new fresh hardworking replacements filled their places, to work as a group once more. But now all are getting tired. The bearings are getting grumpy, the gaskets letting more and more go… the old age is taking its toll… Cold mornings make for a slow start. The veins silt up more and more. The efficiency drops. Gears start grinding more and more.
In a last effort to give all its strength, to pull away faster than the new silent generation, it gives all its might, all its power. The last deep breath of an era of mechanical power. Then on its very peak, the belts can take no more.. the stretch is gone… the surface scratched with scars of the past. The last rotation. The last handshake with all the pulleys. It is time to go now. With a loud burst the belt snaps and the sync is gone. All is lost. The once harmonized team breaks down in individual useless components, like single states who ones formed a great empire. The cylinders get hot and get stuck in the cylinder wall. The oil boiling, the coolant sissing. Smoke arises. The once great, loud driver of our economy, mobility, and industry, now stands broken and defeated by time. The once loud roar of a king is now silenced by its master named ‘progress’.
Goodbye old friend. We will see each other again. We won’t forget all your great efforts. You will be nourished by the last real mechanical engineers. The keepers of the essence of cold harmony. And after a hundred years, when all is silent, your roar will sound once more, and you will be remembered. Decennia from now people will think; how did they make such a machine. Whare everything has to be tuned to perfection to be able to work. Where every component in that machine has the sole purpose of creation of movement. Instead of all the components just signaling when there is none. Where fluid, fire and cold steal come together to form a marriage that gives birth to work. You will be a lost art, yet not a forgotten one.
Let us not forget the importance of the working together of thousands, maybe millions. Working together to reach a goal higher than the individual. The engineer is the puppet master of its subject progress. In that sense the engineer is the God of progress. To create is to give birth to meaning. Its not just the result, it’s the journey. No machine is better than another one, it constructs harmony in in its own way. Let us nourish the path to grow in the future. Let us remember the old and praise the new. Let the engineer decide what is progress, instead of politicians. For it is the engineer who really understands cooperation, law (of nature), al the different components forming a society designed to work, and sacrifice for the better, for the whole of humanity.
Rest in peace fuel engine.