Steam Engines

Steam Engines

Steam Engines

Steam Engines

Synopsis

"Follows the development of the steam engine"--Provided by publisher.

Excerpt

In an age when our world is powered by electricity and oil, we little remember the importance of steam in creating the great industrial system. the steam engine was one of the most important inventions ever. Had it not been devised when it was, our world would be much different.

Today almost everybody believes that this great system of power was invented by James Watt. His name is always on everybody’s list of great inventors, along with Thomas Alva Edison, Michael Faraday, and the Wright brothers. Yet the steam engine was not invented by Watt, but by an Englishman named Thomas Newcomen almost twenty-five years before Watt was born.

Why was Newcomen largely forgotten? There was only one brief mention of his death in the press, and we are not even sure where he is buried. This lack of attention was, in part, due to the fact that Newcomen was a practical man of business, mainly interested in finding ways to do things better. At the time—and even today—honors and prestige went to the people who searched out theories and principles, like Isaac Newton, who worked out the principles of gravity, or Albert Einstein, who developed the theory of relativity. For example, it was fifty years after Hans Christian Oersted and Faraday separately worked out the principle of the electric motor that anyone figured out how to . . .

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