This engraving by Thomas Barney, dated 1719, shows the first Newcomen engine with a definite historical record, which was erected near Dudley Castle in 1712.
Image: Science Museum / SSPL

Newcomen's first engine

Thomas Newcomen erected the world's first successful steam engine near Dudley Castle, Staffordshire, in 1712. The engine pumped water from a mine at the rate of 10 gallons per stroke from a depth of 150 feet - an unprecedented feat in 1712.

Newcomen had built the first widely used engine by which man obtained mechanical power other than from wind, water or muscular effort. His design was rugged and reliable, and changed little for more than 60 years.