History of The Steam Engine

The history of the magnificent and breathtaking super trains that we have today can be traced back to the early 17th and 18th century when miners faced difficulties in getting water out of the mine shafts and to the surface and further back to the early civilizations in Egypt. The ingenious experiments performed by numerous mechanical experts and hobbyists back then did not yield much but instead gave birth to the idea of the steam engine which James Watt built upon to come up with the one of the very first steam engines. The creativity of people such as James Watt, Thomas Grant and Edward Ford is what pushed for the refinement of the steam engines that we have today.

The schemes drafted by Thomas Grant and Edward Ford back in the 17th century tended to describe a new form energy that could move ships against winds by using steam. Later on, in 1648 Dr. John Wilkins who was also a Bishop, in more than one attempt described how the force of heated water could be harnessed to produce massive loads of energy to power flying machines which would come into existence two centuries later. A few years later, Edward Somerset, the second marquis of Worcester published a number of items explaining how to elevate water by using pressure created from steam. His experiments and mechanical innovations were later used in Vauxhall, London to elevate water in castles for practical purposes. However, the invention never made it far as it was expensive to install and to maintain. The dramatic breakthrough of the steam engine however, came with Thomas Savery, a military engineer and an excellent mechanic. His invention used the principle of Somerset’s invention but was much agile and more advanced and could lift water up to 42 feet. Savery’s invention was later adopted to free British mines of water and gradually it was adopted in milling, draining mines and serving towns with water. However, just like Somerset’s creation it was expensive to maintain and there were even reported injuries caused by explosions from the large boilers implemented in his device.

A couple of years later, Scotsman James Watt made his rendition of the steam engine based on Newcomen’s,  Smeaton’s and Beighton’s inventions which were all based on the works of Savery. His steam engine was much efficient and cost-effective in terms of energy consumption and was later adopted to power trains and ships. His invention was later widely accepted and with the discovery of fuel, the steam engine went global which later gave birth to diesel trains and diesel-powered machines we have today. It comes without a doubt that Watt’s innovation is what runs the rail world today and will be appreciated for a long time to come.