Who Made the Steam Engine?
The aeolipile (also known as a Hero engine) described by Hero of Alexandria in the 1st century AD is considered to be the first recorded steam engine. Torque was produced by steam jets exiting the turbine.
Thomas Savery, in 1698, patented the first practical, atmospheric pressure, steam engine of 1 horsepower (750 W). It had no piston or moving parts, only taps. It was a fire engine, a kind of thermic syphon, in which steam was admitted to an empty container and then condensed. The vacuum thus created was used to suck water from the sump at the bottom of the mine. The “fire engine” was not very effective and could not work beyond a limited depth of around 30 feet (9.1 m).
Thomas Newcomen, in 1712, developed the first commercially successful piston steam engine of 5 horsepower (3,700 W). Its principle was to condense steam in a cylinder, thus causing atmospheric pressure to drive a piston and produce mechanical work.
James Watt, the Scottish mathematical instrument maker, designed the first workable Steam Engine in 1765 and in 1781, patented a steam engine that produced continued rotary motion with a power of about 10 horsepower (7,500 W). It was the first type of steam engine to make use of steam at a pressure just above atmospheric to drive the piston helped by a partial vacuum. It was an improvement of Newcomen’s engine.
In the following century, it was developed as a stationary power source to operate machinery, and as a mobile power source to run boats, cars, and trains. The steam engine brought about a great industrial revolution in the western world and changed the world radically.