MARK SYKES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK SYKES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Watt's centrifugal governor. Artwork of the centrifugal governor developed in 1788 by the British engineer James Watt (1736-1819). This device is designed to control the speed of an engine by regulating the amount of fuel or power supplied to the engine. In this case, this is a "flyball" governor, used in a steam engine. As the amount of steam passing the governor increases, the two balls rise upwards, closing the valve and cutting off the supply of steam. This provides an automatic brake on the engine, keeping the speed within a set range. As the amount of steam falls, the balls descend, allowing the engine to speed up once more.
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