HMS Stalker (1950) - Photo © Mr Bill Wilkinson
News Paper Article
Steam engines have had a long history in almost every field of work and industry; they have revolutionized the production possibilities and brought a whole new world of chances for the humanity. Here is how it all started and who were the people who contributed the most to this amazing invention. It all started about one century AD when the old inventors of Alexandria built the aeolipile, also known as the Hero engine, which is considered to be the first recorded steam engine. In this case steam jets produced torque which powered the turbine and allowed boats to move that way. But let's mention a few more modern inventions that moved things a little faster.
In 1698, Tomas Savery was the one who patented the first practically used steam engine that worked with atmospheric pressure. It had only one horsepower and no moving parts except taps, so it was very limited and only used for depths of 9 meters and less. The one who really moved things further and brought the first successful and commercially used steam engine was Thomas Newcomen. His breakthrough that came to light in 1712 had five horsepower and was able to work on a much higher scale and the way we know it today.
James Watt made in 1781 the first mechanism that could produce continued rotary motion with ten horsepower, the biggest one yet. It was also the first one to produce and use steam at a pressure higher than the atmospheric, but generally it was just an improvement of the one Newcomen introduced about 70 years before. The one who made steam engines so small that they could actually be used in locomotives and small businesses was Richard Trevithick. This happened from 1797 until 1799 and it is hard to exactly follow things after that, since the revolution already started.
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