File:Annual report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution (1929) (14783592725).jpg

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Identifier: annualreportofbo1929smit (find matches)
Title: Annual report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution
Year: 1846 (1840s)
Authors: Smithsonian Institution. Board of Regents United States National Museum. Report of the U.S. National Museum Smithsonian Institution. Report of the Secretary
Subjects: Smithsonian Institution Smithsonian Institution. Archives Discoveries in science
Publisher: Washington : Smithsonian Institution
Contributing Library: Smithsonian Libraries
Digitizing Sponsor: Smithsonian Libraries

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the latterby a cord and overhead pulley to a weight. He then exhausted theair under the piston with his air pump and immediately the pistonmoved downward, lifting the weight. Thirty years more passed and then Huygens, the Dutch astrono-mer, improved on Von Guerickes idea and obtained a vacuum under apiston without an air pump. He fitted up a cylinder with nonreturnvalves and exploded gunpowder under the piston. Most of the gasesescaped but as the quantity remaining in the cylinder cooled a vacuumwas created and the piston went down just as with Von Guericke.Both of these experiments demonstrated that the weight of the airwas capable of doing mechanical work. In 1690 Papin, a French 510 ANNUAL EEPORT SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, 192 9 engineer, showed how steam could be used to obtain the vacuum. Healso invented the safety valve and proposed to apply steam to drawwater from mines, to shoot bullets from cannon, to propel boats,and to do many other things. He did not construct any practical
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engines, however, and came no nearer than his predecessors to solving the problem of maldng the piston move up and down continuously. Necessity produced the next invention. England was experiencing more and more trouble keeping water out of her coal mines. The MECHANICALi TEANSPOKT MITMAN 511 pumps had been increased in size, gradually, until toward the closeof the seventeenth century the largest which man or beast could pro-ficiently handle were being used. Here then was a definite need formore power. Hero, Porta, De Cans, Huygens, and Papin had con-tributed all the rudiments for a power machine which simply awaitedthe touch of some mechanical magician to form a complete structure.That touch was given in 1698 by Capt. Thomas Savery. He was anEnglish coal-mine owner and operator. In the j^ear cited, he con-structed and patented a machine for raising water by the impellentforce of fire. This represents the first attempt to utilize fuel as apractical means of doing mechanical work. His

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