Savery patent for a pumping steam engine, 1698.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Title page of the Savery patent (no 356) for a pumping steam engine. Thomas Savery (c 1650-1715) was an inventor and military engineer. In 1698 he patented the first practical high- presure steam engine for pumping water from mines. However, the design was unsuccesful as the pipes carrying the steam burst. 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 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.