The Fruits of Civilization (7) Heat Engines

Heat Engines

A machine, receiving at distant times and from many hands new combinations and improvements, and becoming at last of signal benefit to mankind, may be compared to a rivulet swelled in its course by tributary streams, until it rolls along a majestic river, enriching, in its progress, provinces, and kingdoms. ~ English clergyman and educator John Stuart at the dawn of the 19th century

Fire returned to the forte with the concept of heat engines, which convert thermal energy into mechanical power. Heat engines were known from antiquity, but their utility as machines only came to the fore during the 19th century, when they powered the Industrial Revolution.