Thomas Savery, and a new invention for raising of water and occasioning motion by the impellent force of fire

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…

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The Chilwell catastrophe: Fatal explosion on the home front

It is the pictures of the vast warehouses of shells, six hundred thousand of them, that is most shocking: that they could all be fired in just two or three days. Heritage Calling On 1 July 1918, at 7.10pm, a catastrophic explosion tore through the National Shell Filling Factory at Chilwell, Nottinghamshire. The blast killed…

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Tower Bridge: Happy Birthday!

Combined Bascule and Suspension Bridge Tower Bridge was officially opened on this day in 1894. I have long been enchanted by it: as a fascinating piece of engineering it is the only combined bascule and suspension bridge I’ve seen; and as a monumental piece of Victorian Gothic architecture. I first saw it as a child,…

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