Steam Power History

Ancient Steam Power History

The earliest known device that could be classified as a steam turbine was called an aeolipile, and was invented by Greek mathematician Hero of Alexandria.  It is unclear if the machine was ever built, but it was designed around the 1st Century AD.

After Hero many scientist considered plans and designs for a steam turbine, and although their theories were basically correct, the technology did not exist yet to put these theories into practice.

Leonardo da Vinci, for example illustrated legitimate plans for using steam power but was unable to successfully build a machine with the technology available during his lifetime.  Steam power history may have been very different had the technology available been in line with the theoretical science of the day.

In the 17th Century Giovanni Battista recorded theories about the increasing and decreasing pressure of steam in a vacuum which a few years later led to one of the first successful steam pressure inventions, the pressure cooker.

Modern Steam Power History

Charles Parsons patented a design for a steam turbine in 1884 and attached his device to a generator to create electricity.  Parson’s original turbine produced about 7.5 kilowatts of electricity, and in his lifetime Parson’s saw the scale of his turbine increase as the demand for more power and larger generators increased dramatically.

Steam power history has not changed too much since his invention because his steam turbine has been the consistent model for most steam turbines used today.