This atmospheric engine was built by Francis Thompson in 1791 and re-erected at Pentrich Colliery, Derbyshire, in 1841. It is now displayed in the Science Museum.
Image: Science Museum / SSPL

Thomas Newcomen's atmospheric engine

Thomas Newcomen (1663-1729) was an ironmonger from Dartmouth, Devon. He supplied local mines with ironwork and tools, and was aware of the desperate battle against flood water in the mines. Even as late as 1858, the weight of water some mines pumped out was 18 times the amount they raised in coal.

This film footage shows the Newcomen engine built in 1795 to pump floodwater at Elsecar Colliery in Yorkshire.

Where was the world's first successful steam engine built?