Cover image for Power from steam : a history of the stationary steam engine
Power from steam : a history of the stationary steam engine
Hills, Richard Leslie, 1936-
Publication Information:
Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Physical Description:
xv, 338 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TJ461 .H57 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Power from Steam is the first comprehensive history of the steam engine in 50 years, following the development of the reciprocating steam engine. Hills covers its history from its earliest form to the beginning of the twentieth century when it was replaced by the steam turbine. Although the first steam engine was used to pump water, its development really started with the mechanisation of the textile industry. This development is studied closely and the theoretical understanding of its operation is covered. The background of thermodynamics is introduced to show how science and design coupled to produce increasingly more efficient and powerful engines. This book will be indispensable to steam power enthusiasts as well as historians of technology.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Hills writes as an expert responsible in part for preserving some of the best examples of mill engines in the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester (UK). Not only does the book draw upon Hills's practical experience with working machines; it also shows the hand of the erudie scholar, drawing upon the records of such diverse institutions as the British Museum and the Smithsonian Institution. Hills traces the history of stationary engines from the first examples built by Thomas Newcomen, Savery Smeaton, and others, up to the seminal advances made by James Watt and his enterprising collaboration with Matthew Boulton, ending with the appearance of the turbine engine. Attention is given to both theory and practice, not only in Watt's work, but in the important contributions thermodynamics made to increasing the efficiency and power of steam engines in the 19th century. Equally important was the role steam engines played in generating electricity, encouraging engines of increasingly greater size and power. Although much of this book focuses on English machines, others (primarily American and German) are also included. Profusely illustrated and full of detailed technical as well as historical, social, and economic information, this book will delight amateur and scholar alike. -J. W. Dauben, Herbert H. Lehman College, CUNY

Table of Contents

1 The noblest machine
2 The impellant force of fire
3 Common old smoking engines
4 The economy of power
5 The devil of rotations
6 Such unbounded power
7 Good servants but bad masters
8 An uncultivated field
9 The new theory of heat
10 The internal operation of the machine
11 Such absolute smoothness
12 Twinkle twinkle little arc
13 The drive for efficiency
14 An economical source of motive power
15 The most economical mode of obtaining power