Thomas Savery's patent for a pumping steam engine, 1698.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Title page of patent number 356. 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 In 1698 he patented the first practical high-presure steam engine for pumping water from mines; it was superseded in 1712 by the much improved version designed in partnership with Thomas Newcomen (1663-1729). The earlier design was unsuccesful as the pipes carrying the steam burst.