Fire engine

In engineering, fire engine is an 18th century synonym for steam engine, meaning an engine for “raising water by fire”, generally referring to Savery engine, Newcomen engine, or Somerset engine; not to be confused with the modern sense of the term, as in a fire truck for putting out fires. [1]

The following are related quotes:

“No contrivance for raising water is more justly surprising than the ‘fire engine’, the particular contrivance, and sole invention of a gentleman with whom I had the honour long since to be well acquainted. I mean the ingenious Captain Savery, some time since deceased, but then a most noted engineer, and one of the commissioners of sick and wounded. This gentleman's thoughts were always employed in hydrostatics, or hydraulics, or in the improvement of water-works; and the first hint from which it is said he took this engine was from a tobacco-pipe, which he immersed to wash or cool it, as is sometimes done. He discovered by the rarefaction of the air in the tube, by the heat or steam of the water, and the gravitation or impulse of the exterior air, that the water was made to spring through the tube of the pipe in a wonderful, surprising manner; though others say, that the learned Marquis of Worcester, in his Century of Inventions (which book I have not seen) gave the first hint for this raising water by fire. It was a considerable time before this ingenious person (Savery), who has been so great an honour to his country, could, as he himself tells us, bring this his design to perfection, on account of the awkwardness of the workmen, who were necessarily to be employed about the affair; and I have heard him say myself that the very first time he played it was in a porter's house at Lambeth; where, though it was a small engine, yet it forced its way through the roof and struck up the tiles, in a manner that surprised all the spectators.”
— Stephen Switzer (1729), Introduction to a System of Hydrostatics and Hydraulics [2]

1. Desaguliers, John. (1744). A Course in Experimental Philosophy, Volume Two (§13: Fire-Engine, pgs. 464-; Newcomen, 3+ pgs). W. Innys, 1744.
2. Switzer, Stephen. (1729). Introduction to a System of Hydrostatics and Hydraulics (pg. 324) (Ѻ)(Ѻ). Publisher.

External links
Fire engine – Wikipedia.

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