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Chronology of the development of Steam Pumps and Engines : Key

Steam Pumps and Engines

 

Thomas Newcomen (1663-1729)

Thomas Newcomen was born at Dartmouth, Devonshire. He was an ironmonger by trade and he worked with his assistant, James Culley (or Cawley) who was a plumber. Together Newcomen and Culley spent ten years experimenting with steam engines which could be used to draw water out of Cornish tin mines. In 1705, they were successful in developing a steam engine which Newcomen described as a "fire engine".

Newcomen's engine

Newcomen's engine

Since Savery held the patent for the steam driven water pump, Thomas Newcomen formed a partnership with him in 1698. In 1712, Newcomen built the first atmospheric steam engine in Staffordshire, in a workshop near Dudley Castle. The improvement made on Savery's original engine was that the intensity of the pressure was not limited by the steam pressure. In fact, it was the atmospheric pressure which pushed the piston down. The weight of the wooden beam pulled up the piston which allowed steam from the boiler to enter the piston chamber. Cold water, which was stored in a separate tank, was then sprayed over the piston chamber. This condensed the steam and created a partial vacuum which pulled the rocking beam down towards the cylinder. This brought the pumping rod up in the mine shaft. The wooden beam then fell back down under the influence of atmospheric pressure and the cycle was repeated.

Newcomen's engine was widely used in the tin mines of Cornwall and in mines in the north of England. Although the engine was not very energy-efficient and was expensive, it was not improved upon for over 50 years.

 

HISTORY OF SCIENC AND TECHNOLOGY

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Chronology of the Development of Steam Power
1696 - 1839

1696

Thomas Savery invented a steam-driven water pump

1698

Thomas Savery patented his inverted steam-driver and formed a partnership with Newcomen.

1705

Newcomen and Cully made a successful steam engine which they called a "fire engine"

(late 1690s)


1700

1712

Newcomen made the first atmospheric steam engine. He also invented the internal condensing jet.

1710

1755

First exportation of Newcomen's steam engine to America.

1750

1765

James Watt invented the internal condenser

1769

Watt improved on Newcomen's steam engine by designing a separate condenser unit.

1760

1775

Watt formed a partnership with Matthew Boulton.
James Wilkinson constructed a boring machine which bored cylinders for Watt's engine.

1770

1781

Watt developed the compound steam engine

1782

Watt patented the double acting rotative steam engine.

1785

Cartwright introduced the power loom which was driven by steam.

1786

Boulton applied steam power to machinery used to make coins.
Arkwright used the rotary action steam engine in his new London cotton mill.

1788

Boulton introduced the rotary action steam engine to run the lapping machines in his Birmingham factory

1780

1790

Arkwright's steam-powered factory opens
The Newcomen engine was completely replaced by Watt's engine.

1790

1839

James Nasmyth invented the steam hammer

1830

 

 

 

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