Trevithick's high presure stationary engine no 14, c 1805.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
In 1802 Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) and Andrew Vivian obtained a patent for high-presure, non-condensing engines. Trevithick went on to develop this particular engine three years afterwards, which used steam presures of approximately 50 pounds per square inch. It was built by Hazledine & Co of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, who had a reputation for high-quality work, and was probably used for pumping, winding or driving machinery. Previously, all steam engines were low presure machines with a small power output in relation to their size. High presure engines were more compact than their predecesors, making the application of steam in the form of railway locomotives practicable.