Who Discovered The Power Of Steam?

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The concept of the steam power is benefiting from water energy by boiling water and using the steam to generate another form of energy usually mechanical energy.

Herons AeolipileThe first device that used the steam power was the aeolipile, it was made by Heron (the Alexandrian Hero) the Greek mathematician and engineer. He invented the device in the beginnings of the 1st century. The aeolipile rotated due to the exiting of the steam from the pipes, actually no one used the device in a beneficial use, just to show how much power that the steam can produce.

In the year 1551, Taqi al-Din al-Asadi (1526-1585) the Arabian inventor, produced the steam turbine.


In the year 1629, Giovanni Branca (1571-1645) the Italian engineer invented another steam engine.

The first successful invention that used steam power was the steam digester in the year 1679 by Denis Papin (1647-1712) the French inventor. The steam digester is a high pressure cooker that can split fats from bones, the stream digester can be considered the first pressure cooker that we all use till now.


In the year 1690, Denis Papin produced another invention the piston steam.

In the year 1698, the first practical engine using the steam power was produced by Thomas Savery (1650-1715) the English inventor. It was a water pump, although it was exposed to explosions but it was useful in mines.

The atmospheric engine was the first successfully commercially steam powered invention. The atmospheric engine was invented in the year 1712 by Thomas Newcomen (1664-1729) the British inventor. The atmospheric engine was used for water pumping, but we can consider it one of the industrial revolution factors. The idea of the engine was using the water after condensing the steam in a cylinder.

Watt steam pumping engineThe major breakthrough was in the year 1775 when James Watt (1736-1819) the Scottish inventor and engineer improved Thomas Newcomen engine by using a separate condenser. James Watt engine used only 75% of the coal that was used in Thomas Newcomen engine.

In the year 1800, Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) the British inventor invented the high pressure steam engine.

While across the ocean in the year 1801, Oliver Evans (1755-1819) the American inventor was working on another high pressure steam engine.

In the year 1849, George Henry Corliss (1817-1888) the American engineer and inventor produced the Corliss steam engine, which was a great improvement of the previous engines as it used less steam and the speed was higher. The idea of the engine was using four-valve counterflow with separate steam admission.

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