Most of the people you mention steam engines to say something like they were used in the old days in locomotives and boats, but that they were pretty sure that the steam engine was outdated.
The steam engine was an early equivalent to the modern big rig trucks with their diesels, used to power big trucks and similar large equipment.
The image in our minds is one of the country one hundred years ago, with steam locomotives, boats, industrial equipment and cars.
Development of the steam locomotive started to taper off in the twenties. Since that time lots of new developments have taken place that can enhance the performance of the steam locomotive considerably.
One of the main advantages of a steam engine is that it develops maximum torque at low revolutions, it produces endless torque from the time you start it. Which in many cases eliminates a need for a clutch or transmission. This torque is very notable too, a gas or diesel power-plant simply can’t produce the type of low rpm torque, low RPM torque is desirable. The simplest of all, the Stanley Steamer 20 HP two cylinder engine develops a maximum torque of 640 lbs per ft. The notable Abner Doble steam engines produced an incredible maximum pressure of 2200 lbs/ft of torque on the crankshaft.
These levels can not be matched by anything in any gas or diesel automobile, plus, the engines are really taking it easy at highway speeds, because of the low RPM power. Their gear ratios between the engine crankshaft and or transmissions to the differential/axle shafts is usually 1-1/2 to one, bringing silent and vibration-less operation, and also delivering extremely long engine life.
”Modern Steam” is the new term coined for these unusual torque monster power-plants. It stands for the new techniques and strategies used to promote economic and ecological steam technology, providing the following advantages:
• One man operation for steam locomotives
• Less environmental pollution
• Low cost of ownership provides good return on investment
• High thermal efficiency of engine and boiler
• High level insulation of boiler, steam engine and piping
• Up to date bearing technology reduces maintenance and protects the environment
• Electric preheating device enables to put or keep an engine in steam without attendance
These are all modern technologies adapted to steam engines. The fact is that steam engines are alive and well, still powering cruise ships and non portable industrial equipment such as power generators and equipment that needs supreme reliability and less of an operational force to
The history of the steam engine can be proven to exist as far as the first century AD.
Steam power has an interesting history which is to long to get detailed with. Where I was born, in Washington DC., where The Smithsonian Institution of Museums is located, the History of Engines ‘building’ was my favorite structure to visit, where they have a full sized steam engine out of a pre 1900’s locomotive and a steam car.
Steam engines have been used to pump water from wells since the mid 1500’s. They were not very efficient back then, but usable, better than hand pumps. In the early 1700’s the first usable steam engines were developed by Thomas Newcomen. These were put to good use in boats that traveled the sea and pumps extracting water from the ground. Uses were limited at the time.
Uncommon to most people are the uses and companies that still make modernized steam engines that are purchased and put into use everyday. For most of us, the products that use modern steam power do their duties unnoticed. I also want to mention the tremendous amount of clubs that steam engine lovers belong to. Always looking for older steam engines to restore.
The subject is fascinating, and a Google search will bring you unlimited information about steam engines and the entire history. For those rare people interested in buying a steam engine, or steamer, GotEngines.com offers you the best chances of locating and supplying you with the steam engine you need or want.
This is not really a sales article, it is however an article of interest to engine and motor people. Feel free to call us about any information you have an interest in regarding steam engines. We think they are very cool too. Enjoy.