|Left: the Guericke engine (circa 1670) in which a small boy attaches vacuum bulb to a piston and cylinder, and with the twist of the stop-valve, he is able draw down the piston and tug forward on a rope held by 20+ men. Right:|
The 1672 "lifting device" version of the Guericke engine, the in which a scale loaded with 2,686 lbs attached to it was lifted through a height when a vacuumed-out bulb was attached to the connector, at location X, such that a small boy, with the simple twist of the connector, would suck out the air in the piston, which would force the piston down, and raise the weight through a height of gravity, i.e. do work (W = Force x distance or W = mgh).
The engine was built in circa 1672 by German engineer Otto Guericke, using his 1650 vacuum pump and piston and cylinder, to demonstrate the power of the vacuum and to thus disprove Parmenides’ 485 BC denial of the void or "nature abhors a vacuum" dictum. 
● Engine development timeline
● Timeline of thermodynamics
1. (a) Wilson, George. (1849). “On the Early History of the Air-Pump in England”, The Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, (pgs. 330-54).
(b) Galloway, Robert L. (1881). The Steam Engine and its Inventors. London: MacMillan and Co.