By Sara Louise Kras

Discusses how the discovery of the steam engine remodeled society particularly and the way it complex expertise mostly.

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Additional info for The Steam Engine (Transforming Power of Technology)

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The boiler was heavily built to withstand the pressure of steam and boiling water, which could get up to 150 pounds per square inch or more. The boiler would get very hot on the outside too, easily reaching 330 degrees Fahrenheit 53 54 THE STEAM ENGINE At a price between $600 and $3,000, most farmers could not afford to buy a steam traction engine to plow their fields. Instead, they hired a team that owned a plow and an engine like this one at the Thomas Ranch in Chico, California. (166 degrees Celsius).

The engine’s piston was attached to a connecting rod, which turned a crankshaft to change the piston’s linear motion into a circular motion. The crankshaft was attached to a flywheel, to which belts were attached to provide power to one or more devices. The engineers of these large steam engines had to very carefully watch all the gauges. They had to check the pressure gauge to make sure there wasn’t too much pressure, and they had to check the water gauge to make sure there was enough water to run the machine.

The machine’s power was compared to how much horses could generate by pulling, so the figure was stated as the number of horses it could replace and the term “horsepower” was born. For example, prior to the steam engine there were machines called roundabouts, which were wheel frames laid on the ground to which two horses were harnessed. The horses walked around and around, turning the wheel, which then turned a millstone that crushed grain. An engine that could replace these two horses with the same amount of power was a two-horsepower engine.

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