What did Thomas Newcomen invent?

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What did Thomas Newcomen invent?
What did Thomas Newcomen invent?

Thomas Newcomen was born in Dartmund on February 24, 1664. This man died in London in 1729. From the article we learn what Thomas Newcomen is famous for.

thomas newcomen


Not far from Modbury, where Severy set up his first experiments, was the port town of Dartmund. A very good locksmith and blacksmith Thomas Newcomen lived in it. Orders for his work came from all local residents. He occupied a small forge located on the edge of the town.

Thomas Newcomen was not a famous scientist, did not publish scientific papers, was not a member of the Royal Club of London. This man did not attract much attention to himself. Therefore, information about his life and family has not been preserved anywhere. But one day it turned out that Thomas was a great craftsman who created a steam engine.

Invention background

There were quite a few mines near Dartmund. Thomas was engaged in blacksmithing, repairing various devices. It is quite obvious that he was dealing with Severi's invention. Often Thomas fiddled with the pumps installed in the mines. They were driven by muscle power.person. Observing this, the blacksmith decided to improve the mechanism. So the famous car of Thomas Newcomen appeared. It is worth saying that he, of course, was not a pioneer in this area. However, Thomas Newcomen and his steam engine gave impetus to the development of industry in those years.

thomas newcomen car

Features of the new mechanism

Thomas Newcomen's steam engine was created taking into account the developments of other inventors. The blacksmith took Cowley (a plumber) as an assistant. In his device, Newcomen used rational ideas and developments made before him. The Papin cylinder was taken as the basis. However, the steam in the device that lifts the piston was in a separate boiler, just like Severi.

Mechanism of action

The unit worked according to the following scheme. In one boiler there was a constant formation of steam. This container was equipped with a faucet. At a certain point, it opened, and steam entered the cylinders. Due to this, the piston rose up. He, in turn, was connected to the rod from the water pump by means of a chain and a balancer. When the piston moves up, it moves down. The entire cavity of the cylinder was filled with steam. After that, the second tap was manually opened. Through it, cold water entered the cylinder. Accordingly, the steam condensed, and a vacuum was created inside the tank. The piston was lowered under the influence of atmospheric pressure. At the same time, he pulled the balancer chain behind him. The pump rod moved up. Accordingly, the next portion of water was pumped out. Then the cycle was repeated again.

steamthomas newcomen engine

Installation difficulties

The machine created by Newcomen functioned intermittently. Accordingly, it could not become a mechanism that triggers industrial equipment that required continuous movement. However, this was not the intention of the inventor. Newcomen wanted to create a pump that could pump water out of the mines. This is what the inventor did. The height of the car was about the size of a four or five story building.

Besides, the device was very "gluttonous". Maintenance of the installation was carried out by two people. One constantly threw coal into the boiler. The second was responsible for the taps that let in cold water and steam. Of course, it was very hard work. Newcomen's car had a power of 8 liters. with. Due to this, water could be raised from a depth of up to 80 m. Fuel consumption was 25 kg of coal / hour per 1 liter. with. The inventor began his first experiments in 1705. It took him about ten years to make a properly working device.

Practical application

Newcomen's machine was widespread in ore and coal mines in England, Germany and France. The device was used primarily in the mining industry. It was also used in the supply of water pipes in large cities. Due to the fact that the machine was very bulky and consumed a lot of fuel, it was used mainly for highly specialized purposes. The inventor never managed to make a universal mechanism out of the unit. However, the installation was taken as a basis by Watt, who created a new model.steam engine.

thomas newcomen and his steam engine

Interesting fact

The taps were often opened by children. In Cornwall, Newcomen's car was driven by Humphrey Potter. The monotonous activity prompted the boy to the idea of ​​making the unit open and close these taps on its own. He took two pieces of wire and connected the handles to the balancer. This was done with a certain calculation. The balancer during the turn behind the movement of the piston began to close and open the taps when necessary. This innovation came to be called the Potter mechanism after the boy.


Newcomen did not receive a patent for his invention. The fact is that such a lift was already registered by Severi in 1698. Accordingly, any possibilities for using the unit were already assigned to him. But after a while, Severi and Newcomen began to work together on the car.

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