The Importance and History of the Steam Engine Essay

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"The wonderful progress of the present century is, in a very great degree, due to the invention and improvement of the steam engine, and to the ingenious application of its power to kinds of work that formerly taxed the physical energies of the human race."~Robert H. Thurston The steam engine can easily be considered the single most important invention of the entire industrial revolution. There is not one part of industry present in today's society that can be examined without coming across some type of reference or dependence upon the steam engine. But, who deserves the credit for this great invention? Some give the credit to James Watt while others claim that Thomas Newcomen was the original inventor. However, the idea of the…show more content…
Thurston. The idea using the power of steam to our advantage goes back nearly twenty-one centuries. A learned writer in ancient Alexandria, named Hero, wrote a manuscript describing various devices and ideas of the time. Although it is not proven that Hero was the inventor of any of these devices, he is given credit for the earliest mention of steam power. Hero describes a method to open the doors of a temple with the action of a fire on the alter at the front of the temple. A series of pipes runs between the alter and the temple doors. The force of the steam created by the fire on the alter is strong enough to open the temple doors. The essential principle that Hero used was to change heat energy into mechanical energy or work. Supposedly, Hero continued his work and ended up creating what is often called the "First Steam Engine." Hero's engine is featured on below on the right. The cauldron or bowl like portion AB holds water. There is a steam tight cover place over top of the cauldron. Two pipes extend from the lid and suspend a globe directly above the cauldron. The water is heated, causing steam to be created and forced through the pipes. The globe then fills with steam. Pipes K and H are located on opposite sides of the globe and allow the steam to escape when the pressure becomes uneven. The escaping steam then causes the globe to spin on its axis. The power

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