Newcomen Engine

Contributed by National Museums Scotland

An atmospheric steam engine built for Caprington Colliery, Ayshire, in 1811 to a design developed by Thomas Newcomen a century earlier. This was less efficient than James Watt's steam engine, but where coal was readily available the Newcomen design remained in use.

The Caprington Colliery opened in the mid-seventeenth century and had many problems with drainage as it was located in the low-lying Irvine valley. The Newcomen engine drained the Blind Coal seam at a depth of 50 metres and worked continuously for ninety years. It is now complete except for the wooden members which have long since decayed.

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