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      Tractor: Tractor: THE AGE 0F STEAM
    Posted on Tuesday, October 19 @ 12:16:53 UTC by Cars
      Tractor THE AGE 0F STEAM Experimentation with steam power began as early as the first century AD, when Hero of Alexandria, a Greek mathematician and inventor, developed the aeolipile, a primitive form of steam engine. It consisted of a hollow sphere that was filled with water and heated so that the expulsion of a jet of steam through a nozzle produced thrust. This device was a major step towards self-propelled machines.

    In the 15th century Leonardo da Vinci worked on designs for mechanisms that would convert reciprocating movement into rotary movement, to enable a wheel to be driven. He also considered the workings of what is now known as a differential, by which two wheels on a common axle could describe curves of different radii at differing speeds. In 1599 Simon Stevin (1548-1620) built a sail-rigged and tiller-steered cart and recorded some wind-powered journeys along flat Dutch beaches. At around the same time an Italian physicist, Giambattista della Porta (1535-1615) began experimentation with steam pressure. He constructed a steam pump that was capable of raising water and realized that there must be a way to harness this idea to provide a means of propulsion. One of della Porta's pupils, Solomon de Caus, was intent on trying out the idea of steam propulsion in France but was incarcerated in an asylum at the instigation of members of the French clergy who disapproved of such experimentation. Another Italian, Giovanni Branca, combined della Porta's and de Caus's ideas and built a steam turbine. Steam from the boiler escaped through a nozzle into the perforated rim of a wheel and so turned it. Branca coupled this through a gear to a grinding machine and published an account of his experiments in 1629. Meanwhile another Jesuit, Jean de Hautefeuille (1647-1724), was experimenting with an internal combustion engine of sorts that used small amounts of gunpowder as the fuel. A piston and cylinder were first employed in connection with steam by a French physicist, Denis Papin (1647-1712). In 1690 he designed a machine that used water vapour to move the piston inside the cylinder. The water within the cylinder was heated externally; as it vaporized it moved the piston upwards, then as it cooled the vapour condensed and the piston moved downwards through gravity. By 1707 the device was working well enough to power an engine in a boat. Unfortunately the local boatmen who had watched Papin testing his machine saw it as a threat to their livelihood and destroyed both the engine and the craft. The first commercially successful atmospheric steam engine is acknowledged to have been the machine patented in 1698. An English military engineer, Captain Thomas Savery (1650-1715), designed and built a pistonless mechanism for raising water, which became known as "The Miner's Friend". Worthwhile experiments with steam power continued and led to the manufacture of workable engines. Amongst the early machines was the steam pump invented by Thomas Newcomen (1663-1729), that combined ideas from both Papin and Savery. Newcomen constructed a more efficient and less dangerous atmospheric steam engine and he formed a partnership with Savery, who possessed a general patent for such devices. The first practical engine was built in 1712. The pair refined the low-pressure atmospheric steam engine to the degree that most mines in Britain were using one by 1725. Across the Atlantic, the first low-pressure steam engine was installed in a copper mine in Belleville,
    New Jersey in 1753. Meanwhile, Nicholas Cugnot (1725-1804), a French army engineer, built a steam-powered artillery carriage in 1769. This vehicle was the first machine designed especially for haulage and it could be said that this was when the era of mechanically propelled transport began. Cugnot's invention established Paris as the birthplace of the automobile in all its forms. His machine was a rudimentary three-wheeled vehicle, capable of speeds of up to 6.5kph/ I 4mph. It was demonstrated on the streets of Paris, when it carried four people. The potential of Cugnot's invention was not perceived immediately and lack of support prevented its further development. Technological advances specifically for g agricultural purposes included Jethro Tull's seed drill and Andrew Meikle's invention of the mechanical thresher. Jethro Tull (1674-1741) devised a workable horse-drawn seed drill which dropped seed in rows. Andrew Meikle was a millwright from Dunbar in Scotland who, in the 1780s, developed a threshing machine for removing the husks from grain. Henceforward, after centuries in which farming techniques had changed little, the pace of development increased dramatically.
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