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Both Newcomen and Watt invented 'steam' engines. Both operated by injecting steam into a cylinder, moving a piston in the cylinder. Newcomen's engine is often described as a steam engine but the steam pressure is not really performing the work. Instead, the steam is condensed (by injecting a small amount of water) to produce a partial vacuum. This partial ...


10

This is a very interesting question which occupied me for a long time. I agree with L. Russo that a "scientific revolution" really happened in Hellenistic Greece. It actually happened 2 centuries before the time of Hero, at the time of the first Ptolemy's. Hero himself was probably not a great inventor, he is famous mostly because his book survived. Unlike ...


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Like Mauro I suspect that your sources make a conflation. The earliest surviving description of a steam engine is in Pneumatica by Heron (or Hero) of Alexandria, who calls it aeolipile after the Greek god of air. One of the described applications is to automated opening of temple doors by lighting a fire on the altar. Alexandria is in Egypt, which is famous ...


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Lucio Russo contends in his The Forgotten Revolution that a revolution could have been happened in the early Hellenistic period, that Romans destroyed this (seeing no obvious advantage: even the description of Archimedes' works in Syracuse was added later and seen more as a mythical history) and that the works of Hero were just a copy of what was made two ...


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This question was originally posted to test the limits of what is on and off topic. I was going to eventually post an answer, but I see we have two answers. In my opinion, both answers dance around the subject a little, so I am adding my own answer. This kind of question is always going to be partially subjective. Locomotive development tended to occur in ...


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The best answer to that question is the following book: The steam engine of Thomas Newcomen by L. T. C. Rolt, J. S. Allen 1977 Moorland Pub. Co. ; New York : Science History Publications, To summarize what I learned from this book. The boilers did not generate enough steam pressure to move pistons. You needed to use the weight of the atmosphere for the ...


2

To answer the "why" part of your question: In Greek and Roman antiquity there was no economic incentive to produce labour-saving devices due to the ready availability of slave labour. The technological advances were mainly in the field of military technology (think of Archimedes and his burning mirrors).


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Practical steam power predates both Watt and Newcomen. Neither one invented it. Taqi al-Din, an Ottoman, described a rotary steam thing that rotated a barbeque spit. This was in the year 1551. Apparently the device had vanes on a wheel, and a jet of steam hit the vanes. So this would be the first impulse-type steam turbine. I would call that the first ...


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This is an extended set of comments. To be sure, the first known steam engine was invented by Hero of Alexandria in 1-st century AD. It was not "commercial", of course but this has nothing to do with scientific method: just "commerce" was not developed enough at that time. Scientific method was not "introduced" in England in the modern times. It was just "...


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Humphry Davy said of James Watt: “Those who consider James Watt only as a great practical mechanic form a very erroneous idea of his character; he was equally distinguished as a natural philosopher and a chemist, and his inventions demonstrate his profound knowledge of those sciences, and that peculiar characteristic of genius, the union of them for ...


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There is a Hellenistic Egypt "aeolipile" described by Heron of Alexandria from ~300BC to ~100AD, which beats Taqi al-Din (born 1526 AD) by no less than ~1400 years. References: https://www.britannica.com/technology/aeolipile Was the steam engine really known in ancient Egypt? https://www.smith.edu/hsc/museum/ancient_inventions/steamengine2.html Popular ...


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