Thomas Savery, English inventor and military engineer, c 1690-1699.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
In 1696 Thomas Savery (1650-1715) patented an invention for rowing vesels by means of paddle-wheels. Two years later he patented a steam-driven pump for raising water, the first practical high-presure steam engine for pumping water from mines. The atmospheric steam pumping engine Savery designed in partnership with Thomas Newcomen (1633-1729) in 1712 was a great improvement on his original engine, and it was widely used in collieries. Savery was appointed Surveyor of the Water Works at Hampton Court in 1714, a post he held until his death a year later.