The Influence Of The Steam Engine

850 Words 4 Pages
A significant event in history that economists believe explains the differences that are visible in poor and rich countries currently is the Great Divergence. The Industrial Revolution is significant to the Great Divergence since it occurred roughly before the beginning of the Great Divergence, c.a. 1800, and continued for several years after. The Industrial Revolution introduced an increase in inventions and innovations that impacted the British economy, one of the most significant innovations being the steam engine. The impact of innovations such as the steam engine has begged the question of whether the effects that these inventions and innovations had on the economy has fostered long-term economic growth in the countries that adopted them. …show more content…
Newcomen’s engine included an important export of Britain, coal. Coal was central to the steam engine since Newcomen first used the steam engine to function water pumps at coalmines and also it burns coal in order to create steam (Karwatka, 2001, para. 1). However, Newcomen’s engine would not be functional if it did not include an important invention by Otto Von Guericke, which was the vacuum pump (Johnson, Lecture). This invention that Guericke discovered introduced endless possibilities for innovators such as Newcomen to foster into technology. Another important individual involved in the creation of Newcomen’s engine is Thomas Savery, a British mining engineer. Savery invented and patented the steam pump, which Newcomen needed in order to have enough pressure to lower the piston when pumping water from deep coalmines (Petroski, 1996, para. 2). The patent on the steam pump prevented the steam engine from completing the cycle that created the source of energy. However, Savery realized the accomplishment of Newcomen’s engine and allowed for Newcomen to use the steam pump that was patented (Petroski, 1996, para. 3). The inventions of the steam and vacuum pump furthered the innovation of the first steam …show more content…
Newcomen’s engine made several accomplishments, but also had several flaws such as its limited range of motion and the significant amount of coal necessary to function. James Watt, which many believe to have first invented the steam engine, made several enhancements to the steam engine. Watt improved the steam engine by allowing it to have continuous motion both vertically and horizontally since before it could only move vertically (Petroski, 1996, para. 6). This advancement was significant since it sparked the interests of the British cotton industry. The introduction of the steam engine in the British cotton industry was imperative since the textile sector was becoming an influential component of the British economy. These improvements lead to the adoption of steam engines in even more industries since it allowed for them to benefit from the range of motion that did not exist before. Another contribution from Watt’s improvement of the steam engine was the ability for it not to be centered near ports since it no longer relied on waterpower (Petroski, 1996, para. 6). Before Watt’s improvement, the steam engine could have only been impacting growth in port cities, but with this adaptation it increases the possibility that non-port cities experienced economic development as

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