Machines That Made History: Landmarks in Mechanical Engineering
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Mechanical engineers have long worked to produce and distribute energy. The steam engines of Thomas Newcomen (1712) and James Watt (1769), covered in Origins, marked the beginnings of a growing role for mechanical engineers in energy production and distribution. By around 1820 steam had surpassed water as the leading source of mechanical power in Great Britain. The Kew Bridge Cornish steam engine collection illustrates the steady improvements nineteenth-century British engineers made in the design and operation of a key class of steam engines: pumping engines.