Parsons steam turbine generator, 1889.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This steam turbine was developed to generate large amounts of electricity. The Irish engineer, Sir Charles Parsons (1854-1931), used the energy of high- presure steam at 200 centigrade to run the turbine. Turning 4,000 times a minute, the turbine produced 100,000 joules of electrical energy every second.