Industrial Revolution

  • J. S. Rao
Part of the History of Mechanism and Machine Science book series (HMMS, volume 20)


Between 1780 and 1850, in a space of just seven decades, the face of England was changed by a far-reaching revolution, without precedent in the history of mankind.

Glasgow University had one of the Newcomen engines for its natural philosophy class. In 1763, one hundred years after the birth of Newcomen, this apparatus went out of order and Professor John Anderson gave JamesWatt (1736-1819) the opportunity to repair it. After the repair and while experimenting with it, Watt was struck by the enormous consumption of steam because, at every stroke, the cylinder and piston had to be heated to the temperature of boiling water and cooled again. This prevented the apparatus from making, with the available boiler capacity, more than a few strokes every minute. He quickly realized that wastage of steam was inherent in the design of the engine and became obsessed with the idea of finding some remedy. From the discovery of Joseph Black (1728-1799), he deduced that the loss of latent heat was the most serious defect in the Newcomen engine [2]. The work of James Watt [3] is thus the key application of science to engineering which led to the birth of the industrial revolution.


Internal Combustion Engine Industrial Revolution Natural Philosophy Class Rotor Dynamic Inlet Valve 
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  1. 1.
    Dickinson, H.W., Jenkins, R.: James Watt and the Steam, Engine Editions, London (1989)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ogg, David: Europe of the Ancient Regime: 1715–1783. Harper & Row (1965)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rao, J.S.: Watt – Two Hundred Years After His Retirement. In: 10th World Congress on the Theory of Machines and Mechanisms, Oulu, Finland, vol. 1, p. 63 (1999)Google Scholar

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© Springer Netherlands 2011

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  • J. S. Rao

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