Evolution of Steam Power during the Industrial Revolution

Timeline created by Melahi
  • Newcomen invents the 1st steam engine.

    Newcomen invents the 1st steam engine.
    Thomas Newcomen invents steam driven water pump. Becomes the first person to patent the steam engine.
  • Newcomen patent expires

    Newcomen patent expires
    Newcomen's patent expires. By this time about 100 Newcomen engines have been built. Over the next 50 years engines are installed in collieries and metal mines all over England, notably in Cornwall, and are also used for municipal water supply and pumping water over water wheels, especially in ironworks.
  • An Improved Engine

    An Improved Engine
    John Smeaton experiments with Newcomen engines, and also starts building improved engines with much longer piston stroke than previous practice. Later engines, which marked probably the high point of Newcomen engine design, deliver up to 80 horsepower (around 60 kW).
  • Steam Power Grows in Popularity

    Steam Power Grows in Popularity
    Newcomen engines continue to be built in large numbers (about a thousand between 1775 and 1800), especially for mines but increasingly in mills and factories.
  • James Watt improves the Steam Engine

    James Watt improves the Steam Engine
    James Watt invents the separate condenser, the key being to relocate the water jet, (which condenses the steam and creates the vacuum in the Newcomen engine) inside an additional cylindrical vessel of smaller size enclosed in a water bath; the still-warm condensate is then evacuated into a hot well by means of a suction pump allowing the preheated water to be returned to the boiler. This greatly increases thermal efficiency by ensuring that the main cylinder can be kept hot at all times, unlike
  • Watt Patents

    Watt Patents
    James Watt is granted a patent on his improved design. He is unable to find someone to accurately bore the cylinder and is forced to use a hammered iron cylinder. The engine performed poorly, due to the cylinder being out of round, allowing leakage past the piston. However, the increase in efficiency is enough for Watt and his partner Matthew Boulton to license the design based on the savings in coal per year, as opposed to a fixed fee. It would take Watt ten years in total to get an accurately
  • Commercial Engine

    Commercial Engine
    First commercial Boulton and Watt engine built.
  • Period: to

    Improving Watt's Engine

    In the early 19th century after the expiration of Watt's patent, the steam engine underwent many improvements by a host of inventors and engineers