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Title: The Boulton & Watt water supply engines : their significance in the development of canals and in the evolution of the Watt steam engine
Author: Andrew, James H.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2680 3143
Awarding Body: The University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 1991
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James Watt's low lift water supply engines are shown to be a definable group, distinctly different from his better known mine pumping engines. The study of these engines has increased understanding of the evolution of Watt's ideas for improved efficiency. Many of Watt's later designs embodied features developed on his water supply engines. Study of documents concerning low lift engines has allowed the costs and performance of Watt's early engines to be studied in detail. Previous studies have underestimated the costs of earlier designs of engines. It now appears that the costs of Watt engines were comparable with those of Newcomen engines but gave much improved performance. The steam engine business of Boulton & Watt was responsible for half the eighty pumping engines installed on British canals before 1860. This market domination stemmed in part from the Birmingham Canal's close links with Boulton & Watt and their exclusive use of Soho engines until 1850. Pumped water supplies were seldom specified when British canals were built but the subsequent expansion of trade would have been impossible without steam pumping. Other forms of pumping were used for water supplies but steam pumping proved more reliable, more economic and more suited to a transport system whose owners saw themselves as being in the forefront of contemporary transport development.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available