Steam-driven devices were known as early as the aeolipile in the first century AD, with a few other uses recorded in the 16th and 17th century. Thomas Savery’s dewatering pump used steam pressure operating directly on the water. The first commercially successful engine that could transmit continuous power to a machine was developed in 1712 by Thomas Newcomen. James Watt made a critical improvement by removing spent steam to a separate vessel for condensation, greatly improving the amount of work obtained per unit of fuel consumed. By the 19th century, stationary steam engines powered the factories of the Industrial Revolution. Steam engines replaced sail for ships, and steam locomotives operated on the railways.
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