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. Steam Engines 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…
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James Watt and the Steam Age Revolution

James Watt and the Steam Age Revolution

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. How to Generate Power 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 undershot water wheels, the Europeans of the…
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Matthew Boulton – Making the Steam Engine Business a Success

Matthew Boulton – Making the Steam Engine Business a Success

On August 17, 1809, English manufacturer Matthew Boulton passed away. Boulton financed and introduced James Watt‘s steam engine. The partnership installed hundreds of Boulton & Watt steam engines, which were a great advance on the state of the art, making possible the mechanisation of factories and mills. Boulton applied modern techniques to the minting of coins, striking millions of pieces for Britain and other countries, and supplying the Royal Mint with up-to-date equipment.…
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William Hedley – Puffing Billy and the Rise of Railway Transportation

William Hedley – Puffing Billy and the Rise of Railway Transportation

On January 9, 1843, British coal-mine official and inventor William Hedley passed away. Hedley was probably the first to build a commercially useful steam locomotive dependent on friction between wheels and rails as opposed to using a geared track. In 1813, he constructed the famous Puffing Billy, the world’s oldest surviving steam locomotive. Early Railways There have been ruts to guide carts on roads since prehistoric times. The development that led to the railway, however,…
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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

On August, 17, 1807, the Clermont began a regular passenger service between New York City and Albany as the very first commercially operating steam boat constructed by Robert Fulton. The Steam Age Revolution 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…
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