The Savery steam-pump

The Savery pump


In the year 1698 Mr Thomas Savery developed the Savery-pump. The patent said: 'Raising water by the impellant of fire'. The main reason to develop this instrument was to lift water out of the drowned mines. The device was nick-named 'The miner's friend'. The principles of the engine were based on the discovery of the weight of the atmosphere. In other pages of this site this discovery is explained in more detail.

It was the first known device working with steam. This pump has only a few moving parts, no more than two valves and two taps. In this device the power of the expansive force of steam and the weigth of atmosphere are combined.

Savery animationThe first pumps operated with high-pressure steam, but again that proved too dangerous for the technical possibilities of that moment. To prevent explosions the later devices only used steam of a low-pressure and used the weight of the atmosphere to do the work, and therefore the maximum lift was no more than 10 meters (equal to the weight of the atmosphere). But with that very poor lift the usability of the device strongly decreased.

The animation on the left shows the original high-pressure version of the pump. The reservoir is filled with steam under pressure. This pressure presses the water out of the reservoir into the delivery-pipe.  The reservoir, filled with steam, is then cooled by pouring water over the outside of teh reservoir. The steam condenses and fresh water is succed in.The Pulsometer

This cooling of the entire reservoir causes a very high steam-consumption.

The final device could not raise water more than 10 meters and the steam consumption was very high. Therefore only a few engines were sold.

But the pump continued to attract engineers and the pump was rebuild and rebuild and continued his life as the so called "Pulsometer" long after the death of it's inventor.