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The Steam Engine
“In the never-ending search for energy sources, the invention of the steam engine changed the face of the earth.” (Siegel, Preface) The steam engine was the principal power source during the British Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. The steam engine opened a whole new world to everyone. The steam engine maximized production, efficiency, reliability, minimized time, the amount of labor, and the usage of animals. The steam engine in all revolutionized the Eastern Hemisphere, mainly European society. What does revolutionize actually mean? It means that something such as the steam engine brought about a radical change in something, and this something is the European Society. The steam engine specifically brought about a radical change in work, transportation of goods, and travel. The invention of the steam engine revolutionized European society by enabling tasks to be done quicker, cheaper, and more dependably.
The steam engine use throughout the several professions revolutionized numerous aspects of Western European Society. The first important use of the steam engine came in 1776. The steam engine was used to show the Cornish miners how successful it could be in removing the water from the mineshafts. This proved to be of great importance to the Cornish, because one of their biggest problems was the flooding of the mining shafts. (The Penetration of the Industry by Steam Power) The mine owners “worried…that the mines would have to be shut down unless water could be pumped out of the shafts.” “The engine successfully raised water from the bottom of deep mines.” (Siegel, 17) This saved the shutting down of the mines, which were essential to further the economy. Not only did the steam engine save the mines, it provided a method of mining that proved to be extremely quicker than the traditional techniques. One of the biggest incomes for the British was found in their textile industry. In the textile industry, the domestic system presented many problems for merchants. They had difficulty regulating standards of workmanship and maintaining schedules for completing work. Workers sometimes sold some of the yarn or cloth in their own profit. As the demand in cloth increased, merchants often had to compete with one another for the limited amount of workers available in manufacturing, which increased merchants’ costs. As a result, merchants turned increasingly to machinery, which was powered by the steam engine, for greater production and also turned to factories for central control over their workers. (Johnson, 30) The steam engine proved to be a reliable investment for merchants of the textile industries not only because it wasn’t accident prone like humans and increased production by unimaginable amounts, but it also moved the company into a factory, which helped to urbanize life to the way we live it today. The steam engine was also used on the farm for several purposes. It was used extensively for deep plowing, cultivating, mole draining and ground clearing. “Great advances were also made in agriculture with the engines enabling greater acreage to come under the plough and production increased by the use of machines to do tasks formerly done by hand or by horses.” (Johnson, 39) These steam engines allowed farmers to grow crops in abundance with minimal manual labor, which was an increase in quantity and quality productions since a machine and not a human was doing the work. Another great contribution of the steam engine was made in the iron/coal industries. Since iron was starting to be produced so rapidly, more coal was needed to keep the steam engines running. Since the coal mining industry had to keep up, steam power was used for the mining of coal, which proved to be much faster than customary methods. Because the steam engine was used to mine coal, and because “England had large deposits of coal to fuel the new steam engines, it enabled people to use more machines and to build larger factories.” (Industrial Revolution. Earth Explorer). More machines and factories using the steam engine meant more production, more reliability, and cheaper prices. The steel industry was also revolutionized through the use of the steam engine. Steel, smelted from iron, was beaten, rolled or shaped on steam-powered machines. This steel became very cheap, and was able to be used for the railroad tracks, and also used
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Steam power, Piston engines, Steam engines, Industrial Revolution, Energy conversion, Traction engine, Steam, Engine, Locomotive, Steam power during the Industrial Revolution, Newcomen atmospheric engine
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