Manual A history of the growth of the steam-engine

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  1. A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine
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  3. A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine by Robert Henry Thurston
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In , Watt formed an engine-building and engineering partnership with manufacturer Matthew Boulton that became one of the most important businesses of the Industrial Revolution and served as a creative technical center for much of the British economy. The partners solved technical problems and spread the solutions to other companies.

A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine

Similar firms did the same thing in other industries and were especially important in the machine tool industry. These interactions between companies reduced the amount of research time and expense that each business had to spend working with its own resources. The technological advances of the Industrial Revolution happened more quickly because firms often shared information they could use to create new techniques or products. This is a full-scale working Boulton-Watt engine.

From mines to mills, steam engines found many uses in a variety of industries. The introduction of steam engines improved productivity and technology and allowed the creation of smaller and better engines. Until about , the most common type of steam engine was the beam engine, built as an integral part of a stone or brick engine-house, but soon various patterns of self-contained rotative engines readily removable, but not on wheels were developed, such as the table engine.

Around the start of the 19th century, the Cornish engineer Richard Trevithick and American Oliver Evans began to construct higher-pressure non-condensing steam engines, exhausting against the atmosphere. The steam engine was originally invented and perfected to be used in mines. Before the steam engine, shallow bell pits followed a seam of coal along the surface and were abandoned as the coal was extracted. In other cases, if the geology was favorable, the coal was mined by a drift mine driven into the side of a hill. Shaft mining was done in some areas, but the limiting factor was the problem of removing water.

It could be done by hauling buckets of water up the shaft or to a tunnel driven into a hill t.

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In either case, the water had to be discharged into a stream or ditch at a level where it could flow away by gravity. The introduction of the steam pump by Savery in and the Newcomen steam engine in greatly facilitated the removal of water and enabled shafts to be made deeper, enabling more coal to be extracted. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, inland transport was by navigable rivers and roads, with coastal vessels employed to move heavy goods by sea.

Wagon ways were used for conveying coal to rivers for further shipment, but canals had not yet been widely constructed. Animals supplied all of the motive power on land, with sails providing the motive power on the sea. The first horse railways were introduced toward the end of the 18th century, with steam locomotives introduced in the early decades of the 19th century.


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Steam locomotives were invented after the introduction of high-pressure steam engines when the Boulton and Watt patent expired in High-pressure engines exhausted used steam to the atmosphere, doing away with the condenser and cooling water. A few of these early locomotives were used in mines. Steam-hauled public railways began with the Stockton and Darlington Railway in The use of steam engines on railroads proved extraordinary in the fact that now you could have large amounts of goods and raw materials delivered to cities and factories alike. Trains could deliver these to places far away at a fraction of the cost traveling by wagon.

Particularly in the United States, the introduction and development of the steamboat resulted in vast changes. Prior to the steamboat, rivers were generally only used in transporting goods from east to west, and from north to south as fighting the current was very difficult and often impossible. Non-powered boats and rafts were assembled upstream to carry cargo downstream, and would often be disassembled at the end of their journey and the remains used to construct homes and commercial buildings.

Following the advent of the steamboat, the U. The steamboat dramatically reduced time used to transport goods and allowed for increased specialization.

It was also critical to facilitating the internal slave trade. With the steamboat came the need for an improved river system. To overcome these natural obstacles, a network of canals, locks, and dams was constructed. Add to Cart.

A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine by Robert Henry Thurston

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