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The Story of Steam 
James Watt’s revolutionary steam engine
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James Watt Steam Beam (‘Smethwick’) Engine

James Watt Steam Beam (‘Smethwick’) Engine | © Thinktank Trust | Come and see it in the Power Up gallery at Thinktank

This is the oldest working steam engine in the world. It was designed by the firm of Boulton & Watt and installed on the Birmingham-Wolverhampton canal in 1779. It saved water by pumping it back up a series of canal locks at Smethwick.
The engine lifted the equivalent of 1,500 buckets of water each minute! The water refilled the canal at the top of the locks, so that 250 boats could pass through the locks every week.
The steam engine revolution had begun - but Watt had a rival... 
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What is special about this engine?
The Smethwick Engine House being demolished in 1897
A working replica of Newcomen’s engine can be seen at Black Country Living Museum, Dudley


What inspired Watt’s invention?

The Smethwick Engine in action

Watch the Smethwick Engine in action
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