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The Steam Engine Essay

852 words - 3 pages

As of the present, technology advances exponentially as compared to three hundred years ago. Consequently, the question asked is how this rapid method of advancement in technology and science came about. It definitely did commence slowly. Most of the protracted infringement to scientific and technological progress was due to theological beliefs and political incompetents. It was only after the Protestant Reformation that significant progress was finally attained; it still progressed slowly.
Many individuals would conclude that the defining moments were when Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz made important contributions to the field of mathematics through discoveries in Calculus. Although this played significant roles in the scientific discoveries, it did not supersede the most important discovery of our time, the steam engine. This machine served as the main driver of the Industrial Revolution. I hereby speak in favor of the notion that this invention, the steam engine, is the most important creation in the history of man.
Natural power had been harnessed since the dawn of time to perform extraneous duties. Examples of these are the natural elements, human, and animal power. As proven, these factors are known to be unreliable. Over time, the need for an instrument, such as the steam engine, to perform work at efficient rates became more important. Heron of Alexandria is known to have created the concept of the steam engine (known as the aeolipile) around 10 CE. This device, created based on the concept, was instead used as an entertainment device for the administrator of Roman Egypt instead of being put to practical use.
Almost fourteen centuries later, Denys Papin (b. 1647-1714) studied the properties of steam while Thomas Savery (b. 1650-1715) addressed the need to pump water from the bottom of mines. Both individuals did create machines but these were not reliable. Thomas Newcomen (b. 1663-1729) came with a more reliable machine based on a piston-in-cylinder system and after ten years of research. The famous Scottish engineer, James Watt (b. 1736-1819), then improved the efficiency of Newcomen's machine by making it pump water out of mines at three times the normal rate and making it to drive machinery around the 1760s.
This new ability drastically changed everything. Classical economical ideals came to the fore when the prices of raw materials such as cotton went down and productivity went up. According to Spielvogel, the amount of cotton imported into Britain in 1760 was two and a half million pounds but by 1787, the rate had increased approximately nine fold, and by 1840, one hundred and fifty fold. This machine enhanced the free trade ideals of...

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