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GB Patent: GB-179,101,822
Reciprocating fire or steam engine
Thomas Mead - Sculcoates, county York, England

USPTO Classifications:

Tool Categories:
propulsion and energy : steam engines


Not known to have been produced


Patent Dates:
Granted: Aug. 12, 1791

Patent Pictures:
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From a Scientific American edition on "Inventions and Discoveries": "Watt apparently derived his (engine governor) from a practice common in windmill design of the period. In 1787 a British miller, Thomas Mead, had used a similar design of a centrifugal pendulum to regulate the speed of the windmill so that the millstones would not ride up with too high a speed. Originally, similar spinning ball-and-chain systems had been used simply as flywheels in the Renaissance period in some large machines to provide momentum in crank-driven devices to ensure a smooth rotary motion. Mead had adapted the ball-and-chain device not to provide a flywheel function, but to create a means of controlling the speed of the turning millstones. Mead's method had been copied in 1788 at a steam-powered mill built by John Renne in London. In correspondence with his financial backer, Matthew Boulton (1728-1829), Watt learned of the use of the millstone governor at Renne's steam-powered mill in 1788, before Watt adapted it to the steam engine. Watt did not attempt to patent the governor, but for some years he kept its design secret by concealing it."

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