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Traction engine. Engraving of a steam traction engine (at centre right) powering a machine for reaping corn. Traction engines were widely used in farming and engineering until the advent of the internal combustion engine to provide power for a variety of implements. Their use allowed tasks to be completed far quicker than by hand or using animals. Traction engines worked by boiling water to make steam which then expanded in a cylinder to drive a moveable piston. The piston's linear motion was then transferred into rotary motion by flywheels. Engraving of Aveling and Porter's machine of 1876.
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