A piston system from a quadruple expansion engine showing the movement of steam. Steam first enters the first piston, then expanded into the first intermediate piston. This pushes the piston down, then the steam enters the second intermediate to push the piston up. The steam then enters the low piston, where the steam exits the system.

Quadruple Expansion Engine Piston

A piston system from a quadruple expansion engine showing the movement of steam. Steam first enters…

A piston diagram from a triple expansion steam engine. The three cylinders are designed at high, medium, and low pressures, with receiver between each cylinders. This design divides work between the three piston to increase efficiency.

Piston of a Triple Expansion Steam Engine

A piston diagram from a triple expansion steam engine. The three cylinders are designed at high, medium,…

A mechanical plan of 1802 Trevithick's Steam Carriage. The piston, operated by steam, is connected to the shaft, turning two gears on both sides. These gears turns the the larger wheels.

Plan of 1802 Trevithick Steam Carriage

A mechanical plan of 1802 Trevithick's Steam Carriage. The piston, operated by steam, is connected to…

"The direct—acting steam pump has the steam piston at one end of a rod and the water position at the other end. The steam pressure acts directly on the piston; no fly light, and there is no revolving mass to carry by the dead points." —Derr, 1911

Direct Acting Steam Pump

"The direct—acting steam pump has the steam piston at one end of a rod and the water position…

"This occurs in horizontal engines when the valve is set on top of the cylinder instead of on one side. By means of the rocker AG the valve may receive its proper motion." —Derr, 1911

Steam Engine Valve with Lap Connected to Rocker

"This occurs in horizontal engines when the valve is set on top of the cylinder instead of on one side.…

"As the eccentric turns in the strap, the point O moves in the dotted circle around O', and the point A also moves in a circle. When half a revolution is accomplished the point O will be at O", the Point A will be at A", and the eccentric strap and valve rod will be in the position indicated by the dotted lines." —Derr, 1911

Shaft in an Eccentric Motion from Steam Engine

"As the eccentric turns in the strap, the point O moves in the dotted circle around O', and the point…

"Since the valve must move a distance equal to the outside lap before admission can take place, it is evident that the eccentric can no longer be at right angles to the crank at the beginning of the stroke, but must be ahead of the right—angle point by an amount equal to AOC." —Derr, 1911

Valve with Lap of Steam Engine at Extreme Left with Exhaust Ports Open

"Since the valve must move a distance equal to the outside lap before admission can take place, it is…

Side view of a steam apparatus constructed by Stephen Hoyt's Sons, New Canaan, Conn.

Steam Apparatus

Side view of a steam apparatus constructed by Stephen Hoyt's Sons, New Canaan, Conn.

A boiler or steam generator is a device used to create steam by applying heat energy to water. Although the definitions are somewhat flexible, it can be said that older steam generators were commonly termed boilers and worked at low to medium pressure.

Steam Boiler

A boiler or steam generator is a device used to create steam by applying heat energy to water. Although…

A machine for utilizing the elastic force of steam as a motive power, and now constructed in a variety of forms. The power of heat to do work when combined with other elements in the form of steam was known to some extent to the modern.

Steam Engine

A machine for utilizing the elastic force of steam as a motive power, and now constructed in a variety…

"An engine designed to throw a continuous stream of water through a hose upon a conflagration, for the purpose of extinguishing it." -Whitney, 1911

Steam Engine

"An engine designed to throw a continuous stream of water through a hose upon a conflagration, for the…

Cross-section of a steam engine plant with Alberger barometric condenser and cooling tower.

Steam Engine

Cross-section of a steam engine plant with Alberger barometric condenser and cooling tower.

"The relative positions of crank, eccentric and valve when the exhaust closes on the crank end and compression begins. Between these two positions the steam is expanding in the head end and exhausting from the crank end." —Derr, 1911

Steam Engine Valve with Lap Steam Where Slide Valve is Closed

"The relative positions of crank, eccentric and valve when the exhaust closes on the crank end and compression…

"While the crank is moving from the position, steam is being admitted to the head end and being exhausted from the crank end. The inside lap being less than the outside lap, causes the exhaust to continue longer than the admission." —Derr, 1911

Steam Engine Valve with Lap Where Steam is Admitted to the Slide Valve

"While the crank is moving from the position, steam is being admitted to the head end and being exhausted…

An illustration of the valve with lap at the end of the crank end steam compression. The piston will restart the compression cycle of at the head of the piston. As the piston moves, the sliding valve in the top compartment will fill with steam and closes.

Steam Engine Valve with Lap Steam Where Slide Valve is in Open Position

An illustration of the valve with lap at the end of the crank end steam compression. The piston will…

"If the inside lap is increased, the valve must move farther before released occurs and the crank angle would be greater than illustrated. On the return of the valve to the dotted position, the port will close earlier and make an earlier compression. Decreasing inside lap will cause earlier release and later compression." —Derr, 1911

Steam Engine Valve with Lap Steam Where Slide Valve Moved to Open Position

"If the inside lap is increased, the valve must move farther before released occurs and the crank angle…

Illustration of a cross compound steam engine. The engine is designed to hold pressure until the engine's minimum pressure is achieved.

Cross Compound Steam Engine

Illustration of a cross compound steam engine. The engine is designed to hold pressure until the engine's…

A low power steam engine. The piston inside cylinder A moves the wheel, generating power at 100 horsepower or less. The steam from the system escapes the from the piston, moving the wheel.

Low Power Simple Steam Engine Diagram

A low power steam engine. The piston inside cylinder A moves the wheel, generating power at 100 horsepower…

A low power simple expansion steam engine. The steam engine can run at 100 horsepower, and not run continuously. The as the piston in the cylinder expands, part of steam is exhausted into the surrounding. The piston then moves the wheel to generate power.

Low Power Simple Expansion Steam Engine

A low power simple expansion steam engine. The steam engine can run at 100 horsepower, and not run continuously.…

An illustration of Newcomen atmospheric steam engine. The boiler heats the water to build up steam in the piston. While the steam lever closes, the water is let in, and the piston compresses the steam to generate energy. The compressed steam turns to liquid, and opens the steam valve.

Newcomen Atmospheric Steam Engine

An illustration of Newcomen atmospheric steam engine. The boiler heats the water to build up steam in…

A plan of direct acting hoisting machine for mining industry. The machine is operated by compound Corliss steam engines. The shaft turns the two conical drums to lower or raise the cable.

Plan of Direct Acting Hoisting Machine with Corliss Steam Engines for Mining

A plan of direct acting hoisting machine for mining industry. The machine is operated by compound Corliss…

A power pump steam engine without shaft. The engine turns the wheel with the reciprocal motion of the piston.

Power Pump Steam Engine

A power pump steam engine without shaft. The engine turns the wheel with the reciprocal motion of the…

"A modification of Savery's engine, the pulsometer, is still quite common. It is used in places where an ordinary pump could not be used and where extreme simplicity is of especial advantage. Its valves work automatically and it requires very little attention." —Derr, 1911

Pulsometer from Steam Engine

"A modification of Savery's engine, the pulsometer, is still quite common. It is used in places where…

"This arrangement makes it possible to place the valve and steam chest above the valve motion. A rod from the bell crank lever on the reverse shaft E, leads back to the engineer's cab and connects with the reverse lever." —Derr, 1911

Steam Engine Rocker Arrangement with Valve and Reverse Rod in Eccentric Motion

"This arrangement makes it possible to place the valve and steam chest above the valve motion. A rod…

The illustration showing Watt's final steam engine design. The engine is fitted with series of rods to guide the in a straight line. James Watt and William Murdoch invented the throttle valve, centrifugal valve, regulator, and slide valve to improve on the steam engine.

Watt's Final Steam Engine Design

The illustration showing Watt's final steam engine design. The engine is fitted with series of rods…

A tractor compound steam engine with outside suspension spring. The spring suspension helps stabilize the tractor. The tractor is fitted with plates to minimize dust entering the engine.

Steam Operated Tractor with Outside Spring Suspension

A tractor compound steam engine with outside suspension spring. The spring suspension helps stabilize…

Steaming locomotive on the railroad.

Train

Steaming locomotive on the railroad.

An illustration of a steam train engine.

Steam Train

An illustration of a steam train engine.

An illustration of 9000 kilowatts capacity vertical Curtis turbine. Each turbines are located between the stationary nozzles. The steam enters from the steam chest into the moving gears, then to stationary blades. Electricity is then generated at the movable blades.

9000 Kilowatts Vertical Curtis Turbine

An illustration of 9000 kilowatts capacity vertical Curtis turbine. Each turbines are located between…

"In 1629, Branca, an Italian, invented a turbine much like a miniature water wheel, which was driven by a jet of steam from a nozzle directed against the buckets of the wheel. This is the simplest form of an impulse turbine." —Derr, 1911

Branca's Impulse Steam Turbine

"In 1629, Branca, an Italian, invented a turbine much like a miniature water wheel, which was driven…

A cross sectional view of Westinghouse Parsons turbine. Steam enters at V and exits at E, turning the turbines, R. The turbines turns the shaft, B, to produce energy to produce electricity. During this process, the steam, at high pressure, is expanded to a lower pressure.

Westinghouse Parsons Turbine Viewed Cross Sectionally

A cross sectional view of Westinghouse Parsons turbine. Steam enters at V and exits at E, turning the…

A De Laval steam turbine. The turbine is operated by supplying steam into the four nozzles. The steam is then expanded and exits the valve through the vanes.

De Laval Steam Turbine

A De Laval steam turbine. The turbine is operated by supplying steam into the four nozzles. The steam…

"In 1885, Parsons took out his first turbine patent on a motor along the lines previously suggested by Wilson, and is responsible for the successful development of this type of motor. His first turbine, took steam in the center A, and exhausted at both ends through the exhaust passage E E, thus avoiding any end—thrust on the shaft B." —Derr, 1911

Early Parsons Steam Turbine

"In 1885, Parsons took out his first turbine patent on a motor along the lines previously suggested…

"In 1858, Hartman Bros. patented a turbine consisting of two revolving disks c and c' fixed to a shaft D. Between them was a segment of stationary reversing blades d d. Steam entered from a nozzle F and was exhausted at H; G is the casing." —Derr, 1911

Hartman's Compound Impulse Turbine

"In 1858, Hartman Bros. patented a turbine consisting of two revolving disks c and c' fixed to a shaft…

A simple steam turbine by Hero of Alexandra during first century AD. The turbine consists of a hollow sphere and pipes. Steam enters the hollow ball, and exits at the pipe around the equator. This then turns the sphere turbine.

Hero's Simple Steam Turbine

A simple steam turbine by Hero of Alexandra during first century AD. The turbine consists of a hollow…

"The shaft, where it passes through the diaphragm, is fitted to a bronze bushing with a few thousandths of an inch clearance. This bushing seats on the metal surface of the diaphragm with latitude for slight side motion. It is kept to its seat by the steam pressure, but can move sideways to accommodate any whipping motion of the shaft." —Derr, 1911

Sectional View of Kerr Turbine

"The shaft, where it passes through the diaphragm, is fitted to a bronze bushing with a few thousandths…

"A compound turbine was patented by Real and Pichon, the idea being to reduce the velocity of rotating passing the seam through successive wheels G, separated by disks B B containing outlets C to permit the passage of the steam from one chamber to another. H is one of the blades, F the shaft, and M the steam exhaust." —Derr, 1911

Real and Pichon Compound Steam Turbine

"A compound turbine was patented by Real and Pichon, the idea being to reduce the velocity of rotating…

A two stage condensing Terry turbine from a steam engine. The steam, entering from the top, rotates the two turbines in the casing to generate electricity.

Cross Sectional View of Two Stage Condensing Terry Steam Engine Turbine

A two stage condensing Terry turbine from a steam engine. The steam, entering from the top, rotates…

"A view of Wilson's invention is shown; a, b, and c, are vance which are attached to and rotate with the drum D, while d, e, and f are stationary guide vanes. Steam enters at the left, passes through the turbine longitudinally, and exhausts at the right." —Derr, 1911

Wilson's Compound Steam Turbine

"A view of Wilson's invention is shown; a, b, and c, are vance which are attached to and rotate with…

"The maximum displacement of the valve is attained when the eccentric is horizontal. In this position both the steam and exhaust ports are wide open, and any further motion motion of the piston will cause the valve to move toward its mid position." —Derr, 1911

Valve with Lap of Steam Engine Where Steam Enters the Slide Valve Compartment

"The maximum displacement of the valve is attained when the eccentric is horizontal. In this position…

"A valve for opening and closing the induction and eduction passages of a steam-engine cylinder: so called from its plan resembling the letter D. The usual form of the D-valve is shown in fig. 1, where it is seen detached." -Whitney, 1911

D Valve

"A valve for opening and closing the induction and eduction passages of a steam-engine cylinder: so…

"A valve for opening and closing the induction and eduction passages of a steam-engine cylinder: so called from its plan resembling the letter D. fig. 2 ... represents a section of a steam-cylinder and nozles." -Whitney, 1911

D Valve

"A valve for opening and closing the induction and eduction passages of a steam-engine cylinder: so…

"The amount that the valve overlaps the steam ports is called the lap of the valve. It will at once be seen that both the admission and exhaust ports may remain closed during a part of the stroke, thus making expansion and compression possible." —Derr, 1911

Slide Valve of Steam Engine

"The amount that the valve overlaps the steam ports is called the lap of the valve. It will at once…

"This valve consists of two pistons connected by a sleeve through which the valve rod passes. This valve rod is prolonged to a small balancing piston, placed directly over the main valve." —Derr, 1911

Cross Sectional View of the High Pressure Cylinder of Piston Valve from USS Massachusetts

"This valve consists of two pistons connected by a sleeve through which the valve rod passes. This valve…

A side and inside view of the superheated steam vehicle. Water is heated by a heat transferred by the fuel in the front casing of the vehicle. The steam is transferred to the piston, underneath the vehicle, to be compressed and expanded. The piston shaft is moves the bar connected to the wheel to operate the vehicle.

Side and Inside View of Steam Operated Vehicle

A side and inside view of the superheated steam vehicle. Water is heated by a heat transferred by the…

Two vessels from the Thomas Savery first steam engine. The right tank fills up with water while the left fills up with steam to create a pressure in the vessel. At certain pressure, the lever lets cools the right vessel by pumping the water out of it.

Two Vessels from Thomas Savery First Steam Engine

Two vessels from the Thomas Savery first steam engine. The right tank fills up with water while the…

An illustration of a steam wagon with a transmission with two side chains. The boiler is located on at the front, while the water tank is on the bottom back. The chain connects the back wheel and the engine.

Steam Wagon with Two Side Chains Transmitting Drive

An illustration of a steam wagon with a transmission with two side chains. The boiler is located on…

A steam wagon with single chain, connecting the back wheels to the differential gear. The engine is located at the top of the fuel bunker, connected to the large intermediate gear shaft.

Steam Wagon with Single Chain Transmitting Drive

A steam wagon with single chain, connecting the back wheels to the differential gear. The engine is…

"The transmission on the first type of vehicle is by means of gearing throughout, and is completely enclosed, thus ensuring protection from dust, and more perfect lubrication. Change gears to give two speeds are provided." —Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910

Wagon with Steam Engine and Transmission Gearing with Double Helical Gear

"The transmission on the first type of vehicle is by means of gearing throughout, and is completely…

A steam operated wagon with two speed gear. The gears are located at the intermediate shaft, moving the back wheel by a chain drive. The gearing is enclosed to protect it from dust exposure during use.

Steam Operated Wagon with Transmission Gearing with Double Helical Gear

A steam operated wagon with two speed gear. The gears are located at the intermediate shaft, moving…

A Yorkshire steam wagon patent with unique boiler construction. The wagon operates with the drive chain connected to the back wheel to the intermediate shaft. The boiler is located at the front oriented sideways, while the engine is located behind the driver.

Yorkshire Steam Wagon Patent

A Yorkshire steam wagon patent with unique boiler construction. The wagon operates with the drive chain…

"If the velocity of impact of the jet is V feet per second, its velocity in the same direction after striking the plate will be zero, a definite force will be exerted on that plate, equal to the force necessary to impart a velocity of V feet in one second to the mass of water in the jet." —Derr, 1911

Water Jet Deflected 90 Degrees Measuring Force

"If the velocity of impact of the jet is V feet per second, its velocity in the same direction after…

(1736-1819) Inventor of the steam engine

James Watt

(1736-1819) Inventor of the steam engine

James Watt (19 January 1736 – 25 August 1819) was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both Britain and the world.

James Watts

James Watt (19 January 1736 – 25 August 1819) was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer…