Atmospheric Pumping Engine, 1791.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The engine, built by the engine-wright Francis Thompson (1741-1809), at the Oakerthorpe Colliery in Derbyshire, is the oldest to survive complete and unaltered in its esential features. Its working life of 127 years is amongst the longest recorded. In 1841 it was re-erected at Pentrich Colliery, near Ripley, where it worked until 1918. The engine was originally invented by Thomas Newcomen (1663-1729), c 1712, due to the need to pump water out of mine workings. It is seen here situated in the East Hall of the Science Museum, London, in 1996.