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Women and capitalism

The development of the stationary steam engine was an important element of the Industrial Revolution; however, during the early period of the Industrial Revolution, most industrial power was supplied by water and wind. In Britain by 1800 an estimated 10,000 horsepower was being supplied by steam. By 1815 steam power had grown to 210,000 hp.[56]

The first commercially successful industrial use of steam power was due to Thomas Savery in 1698. He constructed and patented in London a low-lift combined vacuum and pressure water pump, that generated about one horsepower(hp) and was used in numerous water works and in a few mines (hence its “brand name”, The Miner’s Friend). Savery’s pump was economical in small horsepower ranges, but was prone to boiler explosions in larger sizes. Savery pumps continued to be produced until the late 18th century.

The first successful piston steam engine was introduced by Thomas Newcomen before 1712. A number of Newcomen engines were installed in Britain for draining hitherto unworkable deep mines, with the engine on the surface; these were large machines, requiring a significant amount of capital to build, and produced upwards of 5 hp (3.7 kW). They were also used to power municipal water supply pumps. They were extremely inefficient by modern standards, but when located where coal was cheap at pit heads, opened up a great expansion in coal mining by allowing mines to go deeper. Despite their disadvantages, Newcomen engines were reliable and easy to maintain and continued to be used in the coalfields until the early decades of the 19th century. By 1729, when Newcomen died, his engines had spread (first) to Hungary in 1722, Germany, Austria, and Sweden. A total of 110 are known to have been built by 1733 when the joint patent expired, of which 14 were abroad. In the 1770s the engineer John Smeaton built some very large examples and introduced a number of improvements. A total of 1,454 engines had been built by 1800.[57]