xxxxxIn 1696 the English engineer Thomas Savery became the first man to make a working steam engine. He produced steam in a boiler, harnessed its power in a separate condenser, and then controlled it by hand-
THOMAS SAVERY c1650 -
Savery: date and artist unknown. Papin: 19th century engraving, artist unknown – Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, Paris.
xxxxxThe Englishman Thomas Savery was the first man to manufacture a working albeit unreliable steam engine. A military engineer by trade, in 1696 he invented a steam-
xxxxxBut the method employed was a practical one. In 1698 he went into partnership with a fellow Devonian, Thomas Newcomen, and, as we shall see (1712 AN), it was he who, improving upon Savery's design, produced the first efficient steam-
xxxxxAmong Savery's earlier inventions was a machine for grinding and polishing plate glass, a paddle wheel, and a mechanism designed to measure the distance sailed by a ship. In 1714, on the strength of his pioneer work on water pumps, he was appointed surveyor of the waterworks at Hampton Court Palace. During his short time there he installed a pumping system, driven by a water wheel, to supply the fountains in the grounds.
xxxxxBut if Savery came up with the first steam engine, the French physicist Denis Papin (1647-
xxxxxBut it must be noted that the concept of a steam-
xxxxxPapin was born in Blois, on the Loire. He studied medicine at Angers and then, as we have seen (1657 CW), became an assistant to the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens in Paris, helping him with his development of air pumps. In 1675 he came to London to work with the Irish physicist Robert Boyle and it was during this period that he invented his "steam digester" (illustrated). He later worked at the Royal Society, and then became professor of mathematics at the University of Marburg. It was while working there that the German physicist and philosopher Gottfried Leibniz sent him a drawing of Savery's steam engine. This inspired him to carry out further research. In 1707 he published his treatise on The New Art of Pumping Water by Using Steam, and he followed this up two years later by building a paddle boat. The paddle wheel was man-
xxxxxApart from the contribution his research made to the early development of the steam engine, Papin's theories on this subject, as we shall see, were used directly by his fellow countryman, the military engineer Nicholas-