Main content

A ‘caged giant’: the awesome strength of Watt’s oldest working engine

The oldest working steam engine in the world, the Smethwick engine, which is now housed at the Thinktank Museum in Birmingham, UK, can lift 1500 buckets of water every minute. No wonder one of the Forum guests, Dr. Malcolm Dick from Birmingham University, calls is a ‘caged giant’. It was originally situated by a canal on the outskirts of the city where a huge pump powered by Watt's engine increased dramatically the flow of water. This allowed five times as many boats to pass through the canal locks.

(Video credit: BBC)

Release date:


3 minutes