Young People's Page


| September/October 1972



Torque Power Live Steam Models Hyattstown, Box 144-D R. F. D., Ijamsville, Maryland 21754

Hi There Young Engineers:

I received a very nice letter from David Reed of Wilmington, Delaware and his exhibit on page 16 of the July-August issue, the upper right hand photo. David is shown with his 1 3/4 HP Hercules gas engine which is running a Number 3 Wilson Brothers Grinder. David is 18 years old now and owns 6 gas engines and one model steam engine.

Shortly before I started to write this article, I was paid a visit by Mr. Paul Leatherman, Jr. and Mr. Ronald Smith both of Myersville, Md. Both are avid young engineers and collectors.

And now to continue with the article on Watts and his steam engine from the May-June issue. Many textbooks portray Mr. Watt as having had an interest in steam as a form of power even in his childhood but there is no proof of this. It is known that Watt was employed in 1764 to recondition a Newcomer Pumping engine which led to his interest in improving the steam engine. It was in 1765 that Watt made improvements in the Newcomer Boiler and after four more years of experiments he developed the double acting engine concept much as we know it today. This included the 3 port slide valve although, very crude in comparison to the valves found in our engines. In changing to the double acting engine in which steam was admitted to both sides of the piston alternately, Watt had to develop a separate vessel in which to condense the steam. This was a great improvement over the single acting engine which condensed their steam in the cylinder.

Watt received a patent for his improvements in 1769. It is interesting to note that Watt was greatly opposed to increasing the operating pressure, probably, because of the lack of suitable materials to construct pressure vessels. I have not been able to find out first when the change was made from atmospheric engines to steam pressure engines. Watt is accredited with, not only inventing improvements on the engine design, but also with inventing the water pressure gauges and also the governor.