Jendrassik, György

(Budapest, May 13th, 1898 – London, February 8th, 1954)

Jendrassik started his university studies at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of Budapest József Technical University, Web link from where he graduated in mechanical engineering. Delegated by the Technical University and with permission from Tódor Kármán, he attended lectures at the Charlottenburg Technical University (Berlin) Web link in the academic year of 1919/20 where he had the opportunity to attend the lectures of famous physicists - like Planck, Einstein and Nerst.

In 1922, he joined the Ganz Factories group Web link and worked in the research department of the Ganz-Danubius Machine Factory where he had the opportunity to get acquainted with the theoretical and practical problems of Diesel engines.

As a result of development, internal combustion engines – of high capacity – named after Rudolf Diesel were already well developed power machines by the 1900's.

Jendrassik was of the opinion that the development of Diesel engines of simple design and low capacity was the thing of the future, which could have competed with the petrol engine in small-scale industry.

Finally, on the intervention of Kálmán Kandó, the first patent entitled "Internal combustion engine and its operating procedure" was granted and protected the starting procedure of the engines. In 1924, the experiments started and continued for two years. The first examples of Jendrassik engines were produced in 1927.

The success of the engines made the name of Jendrassik known all over the world. In the Ganz Factory Wagon Plant engine development was initiated that was unprecedented in Hungary to that time.

The excellent design of the engines was proved by their general use in both Hungary and abroad and, in addition, by the fact that several foreign factories acquired the patents. Ganz developed a fast streamlined eight-wheel railcar, named Árpád. Its 200 kW engine was mounted on the front truck and the transmission was hydraulically operated, not a Diesel-electric drive system. Its maximum speed was 120 km/h. Seven railcars were built and run between Budapest and Vienna before the war.

By the end of 1938, first in the world, a small sized gas turbine with an independent combustion chamber and an output of 75 HP and 21.2% efficiency was produced. The Jendrassik-type gas turbine opened new fields of gas turbine application.

He became the factory's managing director from 1942 to 1945. After the war owing the distrust surrounded him he was not able to continue developing gas turbines. From one of his travels abroad he did not return to Hungary. He lived in Argentina, later settled in the United Kingdom where he established his own workshop.

Jendrassik had nearly 100 accepted patents in Hungary and Great Britain.

Membership: correspondent member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (1943)

Honours: Prize of the Verein Mitteleuropäischer Eisenbahnverwaltung (1937).