Thomas Savery

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Thomas Savery
BirthplaceShilstone, Modbury, Devon, England

Savery, Thomas,

c.1650–1715, English engineer. He became a military engineer, rising to the rank of captain by 1702. He spent his free time performing experiments in mechanics, inventing such devices as a machine for polishing plate glass and a contrivance employing paddle wheels to move becalmed ships. His most important invention, patented in 1698, was a machine designed to lift water for such purposes as keeping mines dry and supplying towns with water. Although not a steam engine in the modern sense, this machine was the first to provide mechanical power by harnessing steam.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Savery, Thomas


Born circa 1650, in Shilstone, near Mod-bury, Devonshire; died May 1715 in London. English mechanical engineer.

Savery was the first to use steam power in technology. In 1698 he obtained a British patent on a steam-chamber vacuum-suction pump that had a small delivery and could not raise water to any great height. In 1707 a Savery pump was ordered by Peter I and installed in the Summer Garden in St. Petersburg to supply water to a fountain.


Konfederatov, I. Ia. Istoriia teploenergetiki: Nachal’nyi period (17–18 vv). Moscow-Leningrad, 1954.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
DEVON pair Thomas Savery and Thomas Newcomen invented the steam engine, but it was James Watt, backed by Birmingham-based industrialist Matthew Boulton, who transformed it into the driving force of the industrial revolution from 1775.
Advent of the efficient steam engine by Thomas Savery in 1698 led to mechanical grinding.
The steam engine was improved by Thomas Savery in 1698, and then Thomas Newcomen in 1712.
First Thomas Savery of Devon and Thomas Newcomen of Cornwall laid the mechanical foundations; then James Watt and Richard Trevithick made the necessary improvements.
An English engineer, Thomas Savery (1650?-1715), knew of the power of the vacuum as demonstrated by Guericke (see 1645).
A few years after Papin's work, in 1698, Thomas Savery did, in fact, put atmospheric pressure to work.
The coming of steam and inventions of engineers such as George Stephenson, James Watt and Thomas Savery are commemorated on the 26p stamp.