In 1712 Thomas Newcomen built the first successful steam engine in the world which was used for pumping water from coal mines on Lord Dudley's estates.
In 1986, after more than ten years of painstaking research, the Museum completed the construction of a full scale working replica of that 1712 engine.
The 'fire engine' as it was known, is an impressive brick building from which a wooden beam projects through one wall. Rods hang from the outer end of the beam and operate pumps at the bottom of the mine shaft which raise the water to the surface. The engine itself is simple, with only a boiler, a cylinder and piston and operating valves.
A coal fire heats the water in the boiler which is little more than a covered pan and the steam generated then passes through a valve into the brass cylinder above the boiler. The cylinder is more than 2m long and 52cm in diameter. The steam in the cylinder is condensed by injecting cold water and the vacuum beneath the piston pulls the inner end of the beam down and causes the pump to move.
Half Term - It's all fun and games
Festival of Steam