Sir Samuel Morland’s Steam Engine
Sir Samuel Morland (1625-1695), diplomat, mathematician and inventor. A zealous supporter of Cromwell, in 1634 Morland was appointed as assistant to Secretary Thurloe. Years later, after the discovery of a parliamentarian plot to effect the landing of Charles II and his brother on the Sussex coast and then kill them, Morland changed his allegiance to the crown and from then on endeavoured to promote the Restoration, arriving in Breda in 1660 in the employ of the King. The same year he was rewarded for his loyalty by being created a baronet and given a minor role at court, but because he received no financial reward he was obliged to return to his mathematical studies and the construction of machines to earn a living. He gave special attention to the manufacture of steam-water engines and pumps and in 1661 was engaged in a project to improve the water supply to Windsor Castle. A royal warrant was issued together with a 14 year grant allowing him to develop his invention of “raising water out of pits to any reasonable height by the force of air and powder conjointly” and in 1675 he patented a “plunger pump” capable of “raising great quantities of water with far less proportion of strength than can be performed by a Chain or other Pump”. With this cast-iron perpendicular action pump Morland was able to employ eight men to raise water from the Thames sixty feet above the top of Windsor Castle at the rate of 60 barrels per hour. He also effectively created the first internal combustion engine by experimenting with using gunpowder to make a vacuum that would suck in water . In 1681 he was appointed “Magister Mechanicorum” to the King and his designs for pumps were developed for numerous domestic, marine and industrial applications, such as wells, draining ponds, mines and fire-fighting. His fire-engine, as shown on this medal, was constructed in the same form as that invented by Cyprian Lucar in 1590, but to which Morland added a number of improvements. In many ways, it was he who first suggested the possibility of employing steam to propel engines. Samuel Morland lost his sight in 1692 and died three years later.
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