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Newcomen's steam engine. Engraving of Newcomen's atmospheric steam engine of 1712, which pumped water out of coal mines. One of the earliest steam engines, Newcomen's machine exploited air pressure to drive water out of the mine. Heated steam was cooled to create a vacuum, which caused water to be pumped out of the mine by atmospheric pressure alone. The machine was manufactured and sold in large quantities, and half a century later provided the prototype for James Watt's vastly improved steam engine, which made the Industrial Revolution possible.
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