Newcomen, Thomas

born Feb. 28, 1663, Dartmouth, Devon, Eng.
died Aug. 5, 1729, London

British engineer.

In 1712 he built his atmospheric steam engine, a precursor of James Watt's engine. In the Newcomen engine, atmospheric pressure pushed the piston down after the condensation of steam had created a vacuum in the cylinder. Newcomen engines were used for some years in the draining of mines and in raising water to power waterwheels.

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▪ British engineer and inventor
born 1663, Dartmouth, Devon, Eng.
died Aug. 5, 1729, London

      British engineer and inventor of the atmospheric steam engine, a precursor of James Watt's engine.

      As an ironmonger at Dartmouth, Newcomen became aware of the high cost of using the power of horses to pump water out of the Cornish tin mines. With his assistant John Calley (or Cawley), a plumber, he experimented for more than 10 years with a steam pump. It was superior to the crude pump of Thomas Savery (Savery, Thomas). In Newcomen's engine the intensity of pressure was not limited by the pressure of the steam. Instead, atmospheric pressure pushed the piston down after the condensation of steam had created a vacuum in the cylinder.

      As Savery had obtained a broad patent for his pump in 1698, Newcomen could not patent his engine. Therefore, he entered into partnership with Savery. The first recorded Newcomen engine was erected near Dudley Castle, Staffordshire, in 1712.

      Newcomen invented the internal-condensing jet for obtaining a vacuum in the cylinder and an automatic valve gear. By using steam at atmospheric pressure, he kept within the working limits of his materials. For a number of years Newcomen's engine was used in the draining of mines and in raising water to power waterwheels.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • NEWCOMEN, THOMAS —    blacksmith, born at Dartmouth; invented a steam engine in which the piston was raised by steam and driven down by the atmosphere after the injection into the cylinder of a squirt of cold water, which cooled it, so that the steam when injected… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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  • NEWCOMEN (T.) — NEWCOMEN THOMAS (1663 1729) Inventeur anglais né à Dartmouth et mort à Londres. Newcomen, forgeron dans sa ville natale, construit, en 1712, le premier moteur thermique d’une «pompe à feu». Aux extrémités d’un balancier horizontal, soutenu en son …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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