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.
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