The Junkers L1 was the first engine from that company to fly. First run in 1921, it was an aircooled, upright 6-cylinder inline 4-stroke petrol engine only produced in small numbers and largely used for research, but led to the successful L5 and its V-12 development, the L55.
Hugo Junkers' early engineering experience was with stationary opposed-piston two-stroke diesel engines for industrial applications and this arrangement was eventually adapted for aircraft use. Nonetheless, his company's first aero engine was a petrol-fuelled four-stroke, the 6-cylinder inline aircooled L1. L was Junkers' notation for petrol engines from the L1 to the L10, which became the Jumo 210 in 1931. It first ran in 1921 and was the subject of much static testing, but the intention was always to produce a flight engine. The first aircraft to test fly the L1 was the Junkers T 19; this aircraft first flew in 1922, but the date of its first flight with the L1 is uncertain.
The L1 was largely an experimental engine, but a small production line was set up in 1925. Reliability was not high, however and only a few aircraft, themselves built only in small numbers, used the L1 and its variants. The large diameter, circular blower fitted to the L1a resulted in a flat fronted, circular cross section cowling, particularly noticeable on the Junkers T 19 and 26.