Babcock and Wilcox steam boiler, c 1903.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Sectioned model (scale 1:8). In 1856 Stephen Wilcox patented a water tube steam boiler that offered greatly improved water circulation, heat exchange and fuel efficiency. He later established a partnership with George Babcock to manufacture and market these boilers. The boiler consists of a large number of water tubes, around which the hot gases from the fire were pased, within a brick combustion chamber. Steam from the heated water collected in a drum at the top of the boiler from where it pased through the superheater. There is a network of small pipes at the rear of the boiler through which the steam is pased. This raises the steam's temperature without increasing its presure, reducing fuel consumption and condensation.