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A History of the Growth of the Steam-Engine

The steam pipes carrying steam to the steam cylinder


[44] _Vide_ "Theatrum Machinarum," vol. iii., Tab. 30.

[Illustration: FIG. 41.--Leupold's Engine, 1720.]

Leupold states that he is indebted to Papin for the suggestion of the peculiar valve here used. He also proposed to use a Savery engine without condensation in raising water. We have no evidence that this engine was ever built.

The first rude scheme for applying steam to locomotion on land was probably that of Isaac Newton, who, in 1680, proposed the machine shown in the accompanying figure (42), which will be recognized as representing the scientific toy which is found in nearly every collection of illustrative philosophical apparatus. As described in the "Explanation of the Newtonian Philosophy," it consists of a spherical boiler, _B_, mounted on a carriage. Steam issuing from the pipe, _C_, seen pointing directly backward, by its reaction upon the carriage, drives the latter ahead. The driver, sitting at _A_, controls the steam by the handle, _E_, and cock, _F_. The fire is seen at _D_.

[Illustration: FIG. 42.--Newton's Steam-Carriage, 1680.]

When, at the end of the eighteenth century, the steam-engine had been so far perfected that the possibility of its successful application to locomotion had become fully and very generally recognized, the problem of adapting it to locomotion on land was attacked by many inventors.

Dr. Robison had, as far back as in 1759, proposed it to James Watt during one of their conferences, at a time when the latter was even more ignorant than the former of the principles which were involved in the construction of the steam-engine, and this suggestion may have had some influence in determining Watt to pursue his research; thus setting in operation that train of thoughtful investigation and experiment which finally earned for him his splendid fame.

In 1765, that singular genius, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, whose celebrity was acquired by speculations in poetry and philosophy as well as in medicine, urged Matthew Boulton--subsequently Watt's partner, and just then corresponding with our own Franklin in relation to the use of steam-power--to construct a steam-carriage, or "fiery chariot," as he poetically styled it, and of which he sketched a set of plans. A young man named Edgeworth became interested in the scheme, and, in 1768, published a paper which had secured for him a gold medal from the Society of Arts. In this paper he proposed railroads on which the carriages were to be drawn by horses, _or by ropes from steam-winding engines_.

[Illustration: FIG. 43.--Read's Steam-Carriage, 1790.]

Nathan Read, of whom an account will be given hereafter, when describing his attempt to introduce steam-navigation, planned, and in 1790 obtained a patent for, a steam-carriage, of which the sketch seen in Fig. 43 is copied from the rough drawing accompanying his application. In the figure, _A A A A_ are the wheels; _B B_, pinions on the hubs of the rear wheels, which are driven by a ratchet arrangement on the racks, _G G_, connected with the piston-rods; _C o_ is the boiler; _D D_, the steam-pipes carrying steam to the steam-cylinder, _E E_; _F F_ are the engine-frames; _H_ is the "tongue" or "pole" of the carriage, and is turned by a horizontal steering-wheel, with which it is connected by the ropes or chains, _I K_, _I K_; _W W_ are the cocks, which serve to shut off steam from the engine when necessary, and to determine the amount of steam to be admitted. The pipes _a a_ are exhaust-pipes, which the inventor proposed to turn so that they should point backward, in order to secure the advantage of the effort of reaction of the expelled steam. (!)


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