The Szeged-born inventor was one of the most prominent figures in the history of Hungarian technology. Self-taught in many areas, he spoke Latin, German and French well. He went to Paris in 1874, where he studied the Lenoir-motor and based on those observations, he recognized the significance of internal combustion engines. He became head of the training workshop at the Budapest Technical University at the age of 25. He employed skilled workers at his own expense, and in return the University allowed him to use the workshop for his own experiments.
Csonka constructed the first Hungarian gas motor in 1879 with tools and equipment devised by himself. In 1882 he built the blended fuel gas and petroleum motor as well. With Donát Bánki he patented many joint inventions. Most significant of these was the carburettor, which was displayed at the Paris World Fair in 1900. Within this gadget they had already applied needle adjustment, brake air valve intake and butterfly valve. They also had success with other joint inventions such as the gas hammer and the automatic tube-firing motor.
Csonka could boast of the ownership of many original inventions. He designed various measuring devices, a motor tricycle and in 1905 a transport vehicle for the Post Office as well. The latter marked the birth of the Hungarian car manufacturing. He became a pensioner at the age of 73 and filed his last patent application when he was 84 years old. The Institute of Engineers highly valued his life's work and in 1924 authorized him to use the title of mechanical engineer.
In 1909 he designed and built a small single cylinder 4 HP car. The cylinder bore of the motor was 90 mm, and the stroke was 100 mm. It formed one block with the gear and had thermosiphon cooling. He eliminated the chain drive and used a cardan drive. Csonka himself built the motor, the transmission, the chassis and the body as well. He actually built three cars in that year. These were the first cars with a cardan drive in our country .
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