Savery, Thomas, c.1650?1715, English engineer. He became a military engineer, rising to the rank of captain by 1702. He spent his free time performing experiments in mechanics, inventing such devices as a machine for polishing plate glass and a contrivance employing paddle wheels to move becalmed ships. His most important invention, patented in 1698, was a machine designed to lift water for such purposes as keeping mines dry and supplying towns with water. Although not a steam engine in the modern sense, this machine was the first to provide mechanical power by harnessing steam.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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