James Watt

Thomas Newcomen and the Steam Engine

Thomas Newcomen and the Steam Engine

On February 26 (or maybe also 24), 1664, English inventor Thomas Newcomen was born, who created the first practical steam engine for pumping water, the Newcomen steam engine. As we know from a previous article on James Watt and the Steam Age Revolution [5], Watt was the one improving Newcomen‘s engine in the 18th and 19th century. Since the knowledge about the power of working with steam had been around for a while…
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James Watt and the Steam Age Revolution

James Watt and the Steam Age Revolution

James Watt (1736 – 1819) Painting by Carl Frederik von Breda On January 5, 1769,  Scottish inventor, mechanical engineer, and chemist James Watt finally received the patent for his steam engine: patent 913 A method of lessening the consumption of steam in steam engines-the separate condenser. Before James Watt was able to revolutionize Europe’s industries, folks had to find different ways to generate power. While the Romans during the first century BC used…
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John Fitch and the Steam Boat

John Fitch and the Steam Boat

On January 21, 1743, American inventor, clockmaker, entrepreneur and engineer John Fitch was born. He was most famous for operating the first steamboat service in the United States even before Robert Fulton. John Fitch grew up with his father and it is believed that he did not enjoy his childhood too much. He was pulled from school at the age of eight and had to work at the family farm. Eventually, he fled…
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William Playfair and the Beginnings of Infographics

William Playfair and the Beginnings of Infographics

Playfair’s trade-balance time-series chart, from The Commercial and Political Atlas and Statistical Breviary, 1786 On September 22, 1759, Scottish engineer and political economist William Playfair was born. He is generally considered the founder of graphical methods of statistics. William Playfair invented four types of diagrams: line graph, bar chart, pie chart, and circle graph. Playfair was born in 1759 in Scotland during the Enlightenment, a Golden Age in the arts, sciences, industry…
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Robert Fulton and the Steamship Company

Robert Fulton and the Steamship Company

From the invention of a new power source or engine up to a vehicle that applies this power source to move forward sometimes is only a small step. But, to become a commercial success, this step might take even decades. Just think of the oldest type of engine powered by steam. Although the principle of the steam engine was already described by ancient Greek mathematician Heron of Alexandria, it took almost 17…
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