A Brief History Of Stationary Steam Engines
The history of steam engines dates back to the 1st century AD when the “aeolipile” was described by the Hero of Alexandria for the
first time. More than 1500 years later, the primitive forms of turbines driven by the power of steam were explained by Taqi
al-Din in 1551 as well as Giovanni Branca in 1629. These were either small steam jacks or escapement devices. They were
mainly used by inventors to demonstrate that the power of steam shouldn’t be underestimated.
There was a significant industrial
challenge that miners faced during the 1700's and this was related to the extraction of water from deep mines. At this time,
the true power of steam was showcased as the energy was used to pump up the water from deep within the mines. With this, the
potential power of steam was discovered, leading to the invention of a full-fledged stationary steam engines.
engines are NOT locomotive, marine or early automotive type of engines. They are stationary fixed engines used in power
generation (Steam Turbine), hoists, pumping, operating factories, mills and mines. These engines are particularly suited for
areas where there is no electricity. In some of parts of the world they are still very popular and are being used for different
Introduced during the early 18th century and widely manufactured through the first half of the 20th century,
Stationary Steam Engines declined drastically in use as both electricity and the internal combustion engine came into widespread use.
are various types of stationary steam engines differentiated by their design and layout of the cylinders and crankshaft. For
example, Beam Engines have a rocking beam providing the connection between the vertical cylinder and crankshaft whereas Table Engines
have the crosshead above the vertical cylinder and the crankshaft below. Other designs include Horizontal Engines that have
a horizontal cylinder, Vertical Engines that have a vertical cylinder and Inclined Engines that have an inclined cylinder.
Stationary steam engines can be classified by certain characteristics of the engine itself. High-speed Engines are distinguished
by fast-acting valves whereas Uniflow Engines will have admission valves at the cylinder heads and exhaust ports at the midpoint.
can also be classified by manufacturer (i.e. Boulton & Watt -or- George Saxon & Co.) or even by their application or
use. Pumping Engines are used in Mines or Pumping Stations. Winding Engines power hoists and cranes while Mill Engines are used
to power Textile Mills and factories.
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Richard Carlstedt All rights reserved.
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