main logo

Navigation ×

Invention Search

Invention of the Steam Engine

Posted on September 2, 2011 by , with 32767 views

Steam Engine

The invention of the engine has played a major role in the environment we live in today - surrounded by transport and industries all reliant on an engine of some description. The engine we see today is a progression of the steam engine, using the same principles, but applied in a more developed manner in the modern world. Every single engine works the same way - a conversion of burning fuel into kinetic energy. It's near enough impossible to imagine a world without the engine, so let's look at the history of the engine and how it has come to the forefront of our industrialized world.

The first incarnations of the steam engine were wood-powered, before coal was discovered as a superior replacement, allowing the invention of the steam engine to be one of the most pivotal developments in decades. Most valued during the Industrial Revolution, the steam engine offered an increase in transportation speeds, and an obvious positive impact across industrial industries.

It is a well known fallacy that the lead inventor of the steam engine, James Watt, was inspired by watching the power of steam lifting off a kettle lid. In all truth, Watt was truly inspired when working on a Newcomen engine at the University of Glasgow, where he attempted to repair the engine in May, 1765. It's necessary to look at the engine variations leading up to this point, to properly understand the development of the steam engine.

Thomas Savery, an English inventor/engineer, developed a water pimp which utilized steam from a boiler to create its power. The idea itself was brilliant, but Savery could not really make the most out of it, allowing Thomas Newcomen, an English blacksmith to step in and improve things, in 1712.

Newcomen's contraption was most commonly used in coal mines to pump water - where steam was condensed in cylinders creating a fractional vacuum underneath the piston. Air pressure would naturally apply to the top of the piston, forcing it downwards in a regular motion.

James Watt then took over the reins, and the development of the steam engine really began to gather pace. The Scottish engineer noticed from Newcomen's design that a vast amount of heat energy was escaping from the mechanism heating the cylinders. Watt's vision was to use a completely separate condenser, connected to the cylinder via a simple valve, wherein the cylinder would be kept hot, yet the condenser would be kept cold. Watt patented his steam engine in 1769, though it was to be a few years before the engine became available.

As the years progressed, Watt made some alterations to his initial design, including insulation, oil lubrication and a gear system for controlling the motion of the piston. His reformed engine was introduced in 1783.

The steam engine had a dramatic impact all over the world. Setting aside the obvious improvements to transportation speeds, the engine also allowed factories freedom from the reliance on water power. Countries rich in coal began to reap the financial benefits attached - the UK using its own coal reserves to expand the British Empire in both the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Trains powered by steam engines proved highly advantageous during the industrialization period.

The steam engine invented by James Watt may, in the current day, look rather basic in comparison to modern day technology, but it was Watt's creation which produced the fundamentals for the engine's development through time.

Add Comment

Your Name

What is 1+1?

Your Comment


I am not a robot

Submitted by Iona

Nghx ms5ya4sx

Submitted by 5562

I hate3 this class

Submitted by Hailey

Ha! I elizabeth, you all know me. Queen victoria is lying, she is unfair. Trust me

Submitted by Queen Eliz

I will catch all of you who commented and who made it, I send 1000 police officer already to catch you guys see you at prison

Submitted by police hea

I will catch all of you who commented and who made it, I send 1000 police officer already to catch you guys see you at prison

Submitted by police hea

You're not!!

Submitted by DAB DAB

Hey! I am queen victoria. And I have send many people to the world as spies to find vampires because vampires exist you know!

Submitted by victoria

What really? You're joking right?

Submitted by DAB DAB

I will catch all of you who commented and who made it, I send 1000 police officer already to catch you guys see you at prison

Submitted by police hea

Thanks this helped so much ohh teachers watching me thanks and bye

Submitted by Leaf

This helped me so much with my homework!!

Submitted by wollice

I like to eat poop!!

Submitted by 1234566780

This really helped me !!

Submitted by mollie

Im coming home i'm coming tell the world i'm coming home

Submitted by Cman

Who cares

Submitted by Anonymous

Who cares

Submitted by Anonymous

My name is jeff.

Submitted by Jeff


Submitted by mr cat

Awsome sause %@#******

Submitted by rakiyah


Submitted by bruce

This helped me with my homework.

Submitted by Trolololol


Submitted by Anonymous

Hi cristian

Submitted by alan

Hes an ok? Inventor but he seems abit wierd

Submitted by lee is the


Submitted by Lucas

He was a boss inventor. I mean boss by he was very smart.

Submitted by Khadim Nia

The inventions are really good

Submitted by rambo

I want to get more information about steam engine .will u provide me

Submitted by fina

So he took the "reigns", did he? Which "reigns" were those, king george's and queen victoria's?

Submitted by Vince

I like water pimps ;d

mine is really wet

Submitted by indian dud

I found myself nodding my ngogin all the way through.

Submitted by Rowdy

I think so, it is a great way to provide for people

Submitted by Davin Tan

More Inventions

Thank you for printing from We hope you found this information useful.