They became widely used at around the 1900's. The first internal combustion engine was built in 1859 by Etienne Lenoir. It ran on street-lightning gas, which was ignited by an electric spark. It ran smoothly, but it wasn't very powerful because the fuel and the air weren't compressed so it didn't burn fast enough. Even though they took a lot of fuel people still bought them. Next in 1862 Alphonse Beau de Rochas took it a step farther. He took it to compression and the four-stroke cycle, but Alphonse never built an engine. The first-stroke cycle was built by Nikolaus A. Otto in 1876. They named it the Otto Cycle in his honor.Today technological advances have been made, such as pollution control, computerization, fuel injection, and supercharging.