Alexandru N. Ciurcu
Alexandru N. Ciurcu
Alexandru N. Ciurcu
Photo Courtesy of
State Office for Inventions and Trademarks

Alexandru N. Ciurcu
(29 January 1854, Sercaia-Brasov - 22 January 1922, Bucharest)
Inventor, publisher. Together with Just Buisson, built and tried one of
the early reaction engines
State Office for Inventions and Trademarks
Reproduced by Permission

     After high school, Alexandru Ciurcu studied Law at the University of Vien (1873), but he also continued to study technical sciences. Back in Romania, as a journalist, he attacked the Government, and was forced to flee to Paris, France. There Alexandru Ciurcu met an old friend, Just Buisson, also a journalist with a passion for technical subjects.
Ciurcu - Buisson reactiv engine
in 1886, on river Sena
Photo courtesy of
State Office for Inventions and Trademarks
       Together, they designed and built an engine based on the propulsive force due to the gases produced by combustion in a small chamber. The chamber was smaller than any other gas generator of its time. The engine consisted of a 2 liter volume recipient that had a hole of 3 mm diameter. The burning gases produced an internal pressure of 10-15 atmospheres.
     On August 13, 1886, they successfully operated their engine on a boat that sailed for 15 minutes against the flow of river Sena. It was the first boat with an reactive engine.
     The review "La Nature", no. 735 from 2 July 1887 published "Experience du propulseur a reaction du M.M. Just Buisson et Alexandru Ciurcu" with a preface by G. Tissandier and a picture of powered boat.
     At 12 October 1886 they received French patent no. 179001 on "Reactive-boat. Reactiv engine", and later patents from other countries: Germany (no. 39964/1886), England (no. 8182/1882), Belgium (no. 77755/1887) and Italy (21863/1887).
Ciurcu engine on a rail weagon
Photo courtesy of
State Office for Inventions and Trademarks
       In December 16, 1886, they built another engine, with a larger boiler in order to develope a higher pressure and increased velocity of exhausted gases. Unfortunately, the engine exploded, killing Just Buisson and a third young man who was steering the boat. Alexandru Ciurcu was put on trial for murder, but found not guilty.
     At the request of a Mr. Gaston Tissandier, Ciurcu made other experiments on reactive engine, at the Scoran - Livry military base. This time he was helped by Emil Sarrau and Paul Vieille (white powder inventor). They succesfully mounted the engine on a small rail wagon.
Permission to reprint this article and the three photographs was arranged by Mihai Radu


If you search the internet using Google on "Alexandru N. Ciurcu", you will find one important link. It is in Romanian, but an English version is available.
State Office for Inventions and Trademarks

This is the article which appears in English translation above. The translation was done by Mihai Radu, who arranged for the permission to reproduce it on this website.

Alexandru N. Ciurcu died in 1922
Editor's Note:
If you have any information on this pioneer aviator
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper
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