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Machinery for Raising Water, Giving Motion to Mills, &c. (+) Extension. Machinery for Raising Water, Giving Motion to Mills, &c. [British patent, No.:] 356, Year 1698.


London, Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1857 + 1861. Lex 8vo. In the original blue printed front wrappers. Inner margins on both patents with nicks, not affecting text. 'Extension'-patent with traces after white paper on inner margin, not affecting text. A very fine and clean set. 4 pp. + 2 pp. ¶ Rare original printed patent for what is arguably one of the most important patents ever taken in the Western world: Thomas Savery's landmark invention of the steam engine with which he laid the foundation for the entire Industrial Revolution and the eventual British hegemony. Over the following 100 years, the steam engine was continuously improved upon and perfected, but Savery's is the very first functioning and economically feasible steam engine ever to be produced and patented.

"Though not a steam engine in the modem sense of the word, embodied the first practical application of the force of steam to mechanical purposes" (DNB). His device, patented in 1698 and demonstrated before the Royal Society in 1699, "was a condensing type engine in which the steam was caused to condense within a receiver, thereby creating a vacuum and raising water to be pumped up within connected pipes." (Dibner).

Savery's idea behind the engine was simple and was initially designed to function as a water-pump: "A vessel, called a receiver, was fixed at a height of not more than 22 to 26 feet above the level from which the water was to be pumped. Steam was fed to the receiver until it was full. The steam supply was then cut off and the steam in the receiver condensed by a spray of cold water; the consequent reduction of pressure in the receiver would cause water to be drawn into it through pipes leading downwards. This water would later be forced upwards through other pipres when steam was once again allowed into the receiver" (Baker, New and Improved).

"In 1698 Thomas Savery invented a steam pump which he protected with a broad patent that covered all "vessells or engines for raiseing water or occasioning motion to any sort of millworks by the impellent force of fire." (DSB)
Savery's patent of July 1698 gave 14 years' protection; the next year, 1699, an Act of Parliament was passed which extended [hence the publication of the 'Extension'] his protection for a further 21 years. This Act became known as the "Fire Engine Act". Savery's patent covered all engines that raised water by fire, and therefore played an important role in shaping the early development of steam machinery in the British Isles.
Thomas Newcomen, English inventor, improved on Savery's design in 1712 and created a more efficient steam engine. Due to Savery's patent Newcomen was forced to go into partnership with him. By 1712, arrangements had been made between the two men to develop Newcomen's more advanced design of steam engine, which was marketed under Savery's patent:
"Newcomen was motivated by prospective commercial gain. What was that gain? The object of the engine was to drain mines, so the demand for the technology was determined by the size of the mining industry. In 1700, England's lead was immense: It produced 81% of the tonnage in Europe and 58% of the value. Germany, which had been Europe's mining centre in the late middle ages, produced only 4% of the tonnage and 9% of the value in 1700. The change was all down to coal. Servicing the drainage needs of England's coal industry is one reason why steam engine research was carried out in England." (Allen, The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective: How Commerce Created The Industrial Revolution and Modern Economic Growth).
When Savery died his patent rights were bought up by a consortium of business men who extracted royalty payment on the Newcomen engines.

This original patent was taken out in 1698, but it was not printed until 1857 (the extension in 1861). In fact, until 1852, all British patents only existed in hand-written versions, and we owe the printed prodution of them to one man: Bennet Woodcroft. Woodcroft (1803 - 1879) was an English textile manufacturer, industrial archaeologist, pioneer of marine propulsion, and a leading figure in patent reform. He was the first clerk to the commissioners of patents.
Upon the passing of the Patent Law Amendment Act of 1852 Woodcroft was chosen for the post of superintendent of specifications, and in 1864 he was appointed clerk to the commissioners of patents, with sole charge of the department. His administration was marked by remarkable ability and liberality, and he may be said to have originated and carried out the whole existing system. In the space of five years (i.e. from 1852-57), he printed and published the whole of the specifications from 1617 to 1852 - 14,359 in number, meaning that all British patents up until 1852 were first printed in this period. Copies of these printed patents were presented to all larger towns in the country.

Subsequently after the present patent went taken in 1698 two works describing his invention were published; A short paper published in 1699 in Philosophical Transactions and the extended exposition of his invention was published in book-form in 1702 (The Miner's Friend). Both are of the utmost scarcity and are very rarely being offered on the market. It is, however, the first time within the last 50 years that the patent (and the extension) is being offered on the market.

Baker, New and Improved, no. 297.
(Honeyman 2677 [the Miner's friend]).
(Norman 1895 [The Miner's friend]).
(Dibner 177 [Philosophical Transactions])

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