The history of the steam engine is a remarkable journey through man's ingenuity.
Since the invention of simple steam driven turbines back in the first century AD to open temple doors, the steam engine has evolved into an efficient way to power ships and nations.
But never has the importance of steam power been more relevant than during the industrial revolution.
From the start the British had the lead.
Thomas Newcomen set the pistons in motion and famous names such as Watt, Trevithick, Stevenson and Brunel (to name a few) further developed the power of steam.
With advances in metallurgy and design, higher boiler pressures could be achieved and much higher horsepower developed.
Simply put, the efficiency of reciprocating steam engines was due to the difference in pressures between the boiler and the atmosphere.
Today the sight and sounds of a steam engine attracts attention whether it be a steam locomotive or a stationary engine in a farm shed.
Schematic of a typical 1950's British mainline express locomotive boiler.