ROBERT H. THURSTON, A. M., C. E.,
PROFESSOR OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING IN THE STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, HOBOKEN, N. J.; MEMBER OF INSTITUTION OF ENGINEERS AND SHIPBUILDERS OF SCOTLAND, ASSOCIATE BRITISH INSTITUTION OF NAVAL ARCHITECTS, ETC., ETC.
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
549 AND 551 BROADWAY.
Ed., The original web translation of this work was performed by the University of Rochester and published on their web site, Steam Engine Library, found at http://www.history.rochester.edu/steam/ J.McV, Oct 2006
Chapter I The Steam-Engine as a Simple Machine
SECTION I. - The Period of Speculation - Hero to Worcester, 1 B.C. 200 to
SECTION II. - The First Period of Application - Worcester, 19 Papin and Savery
Chapter II The Steam-Engine as a Train of Mechanism
The Modern Type of Engine as Developed by Newcomen, Brighton and Smeaton.
Chapter III The Development of the Modern Steam-Engine
SECTION I. - James Watt and his Contemporaries
SECTION II. - The Contemporaries of James Watt
Chapter IV The Modern Steam Engine
The Second Period of Application--1800-1850--Steam-Locomotion on Railroads
Chapter V The Modern Steam-Engine
The Second Period of Application--1800-1850--The Steam-Engine Applied to Ship Propulsion
Chapter VI The Steam-Engine of Today
The Period of Refinement--1850 to Date
Chapter VII The Philosophy of the Steam-Engine
History of its Growth; Energetics and Thermo-Dynamics
Chapter VIII The Philosophy of the Steam Engine
Its Application; Its Teaching Respecting the Construction of the Engine and its Improvement
This little work embodies the more generally interesting portions of lectures first written for delivery at the Stevens Institute of technology, in the winter of 1871‑'72, to a mixed audience, composed, however, principally of engineers by profession, and of mechanics; it comprises, also, some material prepared for other occasions.
These lectures have been rewritten and considerably extended, and have been
given a form which is more appropriate to this method of presentation of the
subject. The account of the gradual development of the philosophy of the steam‑engine
has been extended and considerably changed, both in arrangement and in method.
That part in which the direction of
improvement during the past history of the steam‑engine, the course which it is to‑day taking, and the direction and limitation of that improvement in the future, are traced, has been somewhat modified to accord with the character of
the revised work.The author has consulted a large number of authors in the course of his work, and is very greatly indebted to several earlier writers. Of these, Stuart (1) is entitled
1 "History of the Steam‑Engine," London, 1821. "Anecdotes of the Steam‑Engine," London, 1829.
to particular mention. His "History" is the earliest deserving the name; and his "Anecdotes" are of exceedingly great interest and of equally great historical value. The artistic and curious little sketches at the end of each chapter are from John Stuart, as are, usually, the drawings of the older forms of engines.
Greenwood's excellent translation of Hero, as edited by Bennett Wooderoft (London, 1851), can be consulted by those who are curious to learn more of that interesting old Greek treatise.
Some valuable matter is from Farey (1) who gives the most extended account extant of Newcomen's and Watt's engines. The reader who desires to know more of the life of Worcester, and more of the details of his work, will find in the very complete biography of Diroks (2) all that he can wish to learn of that great but unfortunate inventor. Smiles's admirably-written biography of Watt (3) gives an equally interesting and complete account of the great mechanic and of his partners; and Muirhead (4) furnishes us with a still more detailed account of his inventions.
For an account of the life and work of John Elder, the great pioneer in the introduction of the now standard
l "Treatise on the Steam‑Engine,"
2 " Life, Times, and Scientific Labors of the Second Marquis of Worcester," London, 1865.
3 " Lives of Boulton and Watt," London, 1S65.
4 " Life of James Watt," D. Appleton & Co., New York, 1859 " The Mechanical Inventions of James Watt," London, 1854.
double‑cylinder, or "compound," engine, the student can consult a little biographical sketch by Prof. Rankine, publislled soon after the death of Elder.
The only published sketch of the history of the science of thermo‑dynamics, which plays so large a part of the philosophy of the steam‑engine, is that of Prof. Taita most valuable monograph.
The section of this work which treats of the causes and the extent of losses
of heat in the steam‑engine, and of the methods available, or possibly
available, to reduce the amount of this now immense waste of heat, is, in some
respects, quite new, and is equally novel in the method of its presentation. It
remained a long time unpublished (1), and is only introduced here as furnishing
so complete a finish to that part of the work as, in the opinion of the author,
to justify its presentation.
Among other works which have also been of great assistance to the author, and will be found, perhaps, equally valuable to some of the readers of this little treatise, are several to which reference has not been made in the text. Among them the following are deserving of special mention: McCullough's "Mechanical Theory of Heat," a short but thoroughly logical and exact mathematical treatise; Cotterill's "Steam-Engine considered as a Heat‑Engine," a more extended work on the same subject, which will be found an excellent companion to, and
l "On a New Type of Steam‑Engine," etc. A paper read before the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1877 Journal of the Franklin Institute, 1877.
commentary upon, Rankine's " Steam‑Engine and Prime Movers," which is the standard treatise on the theory of the steam‑engine. The works of Bourne, of Holley, of Clarke, and of Forney, are standards on the practical every‑day matters of steam‑engine construction and management.
The author is almost daily in receipt of inquiries which indicate that the above remarks will be of service to very many young engineers, as well as to many to whom the steam-engine is of interest from a more purely scientific point of view.
Rev. January 2011