The impellent force of fire

Until the early 1700s, machines were driven by water, wind or the sheer muscle power of animals - including human beings. In 1698 Thomas Savery obtained a patent for 'Raiseing of Water by the Impellent Force of Fire'. It was the first useful steam pump. In or before 1712, Thomas Newcomen built the first truly practical steam engine, making power available on a scale never seen before. His design transformed the coal-mining industry by pumping flood water from deep mines. This gave miners access to untouched coal reserves, and was also the beginning of our dependence on fossil fuels.