Engraving of Denis Papin, French inventor

Engraving of Denis Papin, French inventor

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Denis Papin (1647-1712), French physicist and steam engine pioneer. Papin was an assistant to both Huygens and Boyle, moving to London in 1675. In 1679 he invented the steam digester (bottom left), an early type of autoclave or pressure cooker. He also designed steam engines. In his design shown here, the furnace and boiler (bottom centre) provided steam to a condenser (bottom right) that produced a partial vacuum to power a water pump (lower right). Papin's designs were not successful as he could not machine his components well enough. Papin and Thomas Savery probably co-operated in the design of the latter's successful steam engine.

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