See the mighty engines that helped drive the great Industrial Revolution.

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Before we had electricity to power our everyday lives, these marvellous machines were the strongest things in the world, providing the driving force for everything from looms to weave cloth, to mills that rolled out metal and pumps to move water.

In this gallery you will find one of the most comprehensive steam engine collections in the world along with its remarkable history explained exciting ways.

See the Smethwick Engine, the oldest working steam engine in the world, dating from 1779. Find out how steam engines supplied the power to make the Industrial Revolution happen.

See the oldest working steam engine in the world

One of the jewels in the collection is the Smethwick Engine, the oldest working steam engine in the world. It was the first engine in the world to use both the expansive force of steam and a vacuum at the same time.

It was designed by the firm of Boulton & Watt and installed almost 240 years ago on the Birmingham-Wolverhampton canal in 1779. It saved water by pumping it back up a series of canal locks at Smethwick. The engine lifted the equivalent of 1,500 buckets of water each minute and refilled the canal at the top of the locks, so that 250 boats could pass through the locks every week. Boulton & Watt’s engines marked the start of the Industrial Revolution. For the first time in history, production became independent of water, wind, animal and human power as its source of energy. Engineering had opened up new era.

Machinery of the 'Old Smethwick' Canal Pumping Engine

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