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The Agricultural Revolution Index

Introduction to the Agricultural Revolution

The Industrial Revolution Index

Introduction to the First Industrial Revolution

The Search for New Power Sources Index

The Search for New Power Sources
The Development of Coal Mining
Steam : Thomas Savery and Thomas Newcomen
James Watt

History Chapters Main Index

 

Chronology of the development of
Steam Pumps and Engines

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

 

TWO CENTURIES OF REVOLUTIONARY CHANGE

Custom Search

The Industrial Revolution

The Search for New Power Sources

 

Matthew Boulton

Engraving of Matthew Boulton by William Ridley

Engraving of Matthew Boulton by William Ridley

 

Matthew Boulton was an enlightened industrialist who saw that steam power would play an important part in industry. In 1762, he had established the Soho Manufactory in Birmingham, and it was here that James Watt was to develop his steam engine.

 

Boulton and Fothergill Soho Manufactory, Birmingham by Francis Eginton 1773

Boulton and Fothergill Soho Manufactory, Birmingham
by Francis Eginton 1773

 

The two men formed a partnership in 1775, and Boulton acquired a 25 year extension on Watt's patent. With Boulton's financial backing and the help of another inventor, William Murdock, James Watt produced 500 steam engines.

 

A schematic of Watt's steam engine

A schematic of Watt's steam engine by Robert H. Thurston 1878
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

In 1769, James Watt, a Scottish engineer, studied a model of Newcomen's engine in a Glasgow University laboratory. His studies led him to work out a way of making the engine more efficient. Watt realised that if the steam was condensed outside of the piston chamber, the chamber would be kept hot and much energy would be saved. He developed a separate structure called a condenser which was kept permanently cold. All he needed then was a method to finance the construction of his steam engine. For this he turned to Matthew Boulton whom he had met in 1798.

 

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