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dec 23, 2006 - Children of the Sun: A History of Humanity's Unappeasable Appetite for Energy, 2006

Description:

Coal, the Carboniferous legacy of stored sunlight, would solve that problem. Coal would be burned to power the heat engine...

1712 - First Steam Engine Developed in England to Pump Water Out of Coal Mines


Diagram of Newcomen Engine.
Diagram of Newcomen Engine.
Source: www.uh.edu (accessed May 21, 2009)

"By 1700 [coal] mine shafts were as deep as 200 feet. There were problems down there with gases and especially with flooding... Muscle, animal and human, and sometimes watermills and windmills were put to work lifting the water out of the mines, but it was an endless battle that technology circa 1700 could not win...

Coal, the Carboniferous legacy of stored sunlight, would solve that problem. Coal would be burned to power the heat engine...

[Thomas] Newcomen... built a steam machine close by a coal shaft... in 1712... Newcomen's first machine made twelve strokes a minute, raising 10 gallons of water with each stroke. Its strength is estimated at 5.5 horsepower, not impressive to us, but the 'fire engine,' as it was sometimes called, was a sensation in power-starved Britain and Europe. Soon there were scores of Newcomen engines, most nodding at the pitheads of Britain's mines, which now could be dug twice as deep as before. In 1700, Britain produced 2.7 million metric tons of coal; in 1815, 23 million tons. That sum was twenty times in energy equivalent what the existing woodlands of Britain could produce in a year...

Thomas Newcomen's invention was the first machine to provide significantly large amounts of power not derived from muscle, water, or wind... If I were to attempt anything so simple-minded as to pick a birthday for the industrial revolution, it would be the first day that Newcomen's machine began operating in 1712."

Added to timeline:

5 months ago
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Bartram Barton

Date:

dec 23, 2006
Now
~ 12 years ago
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