View Full Version : Newcomen engine.

16th Oct 2004, 11:18
Having an argument at work. I know the principles on which the newcomen beam engine works thermodynamically, but how does the actual pump work?

How do you go about lifting water out of a mine 150ft + deep?

None of the websites I've so far found show the pump side of the mechanism. I am guessing that you have lots of small buckets that lift the water a small distance before the beam goes back down again.

Does anyone have a definitive answer? NB it doesn't actually matter unless the UN impose tin sanctions on us.



This'll get Tony D going

Bo Nalls
16th Oct 2004, 11:51
Fairly simple process as shown by the animated illustration on this site (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/society_culture/industrialisation/launch_ani_beam_engine.shtml).

The Reciprocating pump, which can be housed at the bottom of the mine has 2 flapper valves which open/close dependent upon whether the pump is on an up or down stoke. This allows water to be sucked into the pump on an up stroke and expelled, via a pipe up to ground level, on a down stroke. The non-return flapper valves stop the expelled water returning back into the pump due to gravity or the next up stroke.

Does that make sense?


16th Oct 2004, 11:59
Yes, but you must have cisterns in a deep shaft because the beam can only reciprocate e.g 10 feet. I have found a diagram of such a shaft here:


But the details are a bit hazy...

16th Oct 2004, 14:15
There is more than one pump and cistern down the shaft all driven by the same reciprocating rod.

See here (http://www2.iomtoday.co.uk/hosted/mines/pump%20diagram.htm) for a diagram of a pump at Laxey and here (http://www2.iomtoday.co.uk/hosted/mines/the%20site.htm#raising) for an interesting overview.

16th Oct 2004, 14:47
Thanks Eko,

Complicated isn't it? Must have taken a lot of engineering in the confines of a mineshaft to get all of that to work.