Thomas Newcomen and James Watt are the names I think of regarding early steam engine development. Yet, it was a Thomas Savery, who on July 2nd, 1698 first patented the idea of an early steam ‘engine’, or perhaps more precisely its direct predecessor since it had no moving parts. It was as Savery explained:
“A new invention for raising of water and occasioning motion to all sorts of mill work by the impellent force of fire, which will be of great use and advantage for draining mines, serving towns with water, and for the working of all sorts of mills where they have not the benefit of water nor constant winds.“
Significantly, the patent was to last twenty-one years and this forced Newcomen to come to an arrangement with Savery when developing his own, more successful engines.