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George Babcock & Stephen Wilcox
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History of Steam Engines

George Babcock & Stephen Wilcox

From Mary Bellis,
Your Guide to Inventors.
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A boiler is a device for heating water and generating steam.

A boiler is a device for heating water and generating steam above atmospheric pressure. The boiler consists of a compartment where the fuel is burned and a compartment where water can be evaporated into steam.

Water Tube Boiler - George Babcock & Stephen Wilcox

The water tube boiler was patented in 1867 by American inventors George Herman Babcock and Stephen Wilcox.

In the water tube boiler, water flowed through tubes heated externally by combustion gases, and steam was collected above in a drum. The water tube boiler became the standard for all large boilers as they allowed for higher pressures than earlier boilers.

Timeline - Babcock & Wilcox

Patents for the "Babcock & Wilcox Non-Explosive Boiler" (water tube boiler) and the "Babcock & Wilcox Stationary Steam Engine" are awarded to George Babcock and Stephen Wilcox of Providence, Rhode Island. Babcock & Wilcox is founded as a partnership.

Babcock & Wilcox publishes the first edition of Steam: Its Generation and Use.

George Babcock is a founding member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in New York City.

The Babcock & Wilcox Company is incorporated in New Jersey, U.S. An office is opened in Scotland to pursue international business. The first central electrical station in the United States, operated by the Brush Electric Light Company, Philadelphia, is powered by four 73 horsepower Babcock & Wilcox boilers.

Powered by four Babcock & Wilcox boilers, Thomas Edison's Pearl Street station in New York City ushers in the concept of a public utility and the age of electricity for lighting,transportation and industry.

Thomas Edison, who had Babcock & Wilcox boilers in his laboratory, writes that a Babcock & Wilcox boiler is "the best boiler God has permitted man yet to make."

Continue > History of Steam Engines

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