The development of internal combustion was a great advance of the Industrial Age. German engineer Nikolaus Otto built the forerunner of today’s internal combustion engine in 1876. Refinements on Otto's design over the next ten years led to more efficient and powerful engines. The internal combustion engine forever changed world transportation. Early automobiles utilizing steam engines had proven to be both underpowered and impractical, but the fuel efficiency and compact size of the internal combustion engine allowed the automotive industry to flourish. Several variations, including the diesel engine designed by Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel, went on to revolutionize propulsion in shipping and other transportation industries.