Early Engines Research

Current Research into early engines - heat engines, whether atmospheric or steam, primarily those first developed or constructed up to 1812.

  • Newcastle Courant advert for brass worker Michael Williamson 1724

    Research Snippets – On Brass cylinders

    Dr John Kanefsky writes: In my paper to IEEC2 on the Norris Files, I referred briefly to the paucity of evidence about brass cylinders for Newcomen engines [Kanefsky (2021), Coalbrookdale, Cornwall and Cylinders, pp.6-7 – see also early access version]. However, an advertisement in the Newcastle Courant for 3rd April 1725 sheds a little light.  In it, a Mr William Packer of Bristol who has relocated to Newcastle offers to cast, among a wide variety of other items, “all Sorts of Brass-work for Fire-Engines for the Coal Works”. Little is known about Packer.  From a brief search on the internet it appears he as active as a bell-founder and supplier…

  • Early Engines in Europe – Slovakia

    Steve Grudgings on a unique tour From my interests in Early Engines I had long been aware that the first successful use of an atmospheric engine in Europe was somewhere in Hungary, in the 1720s, and that it was erected by Humphrey Potter. It had been covered in various papers by the Newcomen Society but that was about the extent of my knowledge. All this changed in late 2020 when David Perrett (of Newcomen Society and AIA fame) passed on a contact from a researcher in Germany. The researcher was involved in excavating the site of this engine. I duly got in touch and was delighted to receive emails and…