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May 08, 2019

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99 cent showUntil the start of the 18th Century, machines were powered by muscle, water or wind, but steam power provided the potential for growth and flexibility on a mass scale. Steam engines facilitated the birth of large factories as production moved from rural riverbanks to industrial towns, enabling the industrial revolution and creating the formation of the cities we know today.

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Today's Random Fact:

Steam power had been around for generations but it wasn't until 1698 that its application into industry was made. Military engineer Thomas Savery created a patent for raising of water by "the impellent force of fire" the first noted design of a steam pump. In 1712 Thomas Newcomen continued Savery's work and constructed the first successful steam engine, the atmospheric engine.

Its purpose was to rid coalmines of floodwater, allowing miners to reach new depths. It was considered so efficient for its time the design wasn't altered for six decades.

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The next advance in steam engine technology involved the realization that steam itself, rather than the condensing of steam to create a vacuum, could power an engine. In 1804, American inventor Oliver Evans (1755-1819) designed the first high-pressure, non-condensing engine.

Steam was successfully adapted to power boats in 1802 and railways in 1829. Later, some of the first automobiles were powered by steam.

Bonus Fact:

French aviation pioneer Gustave de Ponton d'Amecourt built a steam-driven model helicopter in 1863. He also coined the word 'helicopter'.

Although different sources such as coal, nuclear, geothermal and solar thermal, are used to heat the water, nearly 90 percent of the electricity we use is generated through the use of steam.