Machines That Made History: Landmarks in Mechanical Engineering
5 Land and Sea Transportation
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Into the early 1800s, the transport of people and goods depended on animal power for overland routes and sailing vessels at sea. When Newcomen designed his atmospheric steam engine in 1712, he likely did not realize the ramifications his invention would ultimately have on transportation. The large, awkward, and heavy pumping engine generated only a few horsepower and could not conceivably move under its own power. Yet the promise of steam power for moving people and goods lay latent in Newcomen's design. Steam power would make important contributions to the expansion and improvement of travel and distribution networks during the First Industrial Revolution.