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The Steam-Powered Water Pump is Patented

This is a very simple, manually operated, valveless water pump powered by steam. Thomas Savery finally receives a general patent from the English Parliament to pump water using steam. Since other inventors have been working on steam-powered pumps they must seek a license through Thomas to continue their work. Thomas's design works after a fashion, but it needs a lot of tweaking. Thankfully, another inventor seeks a license from Thomas and improves his design. Parliament believes that these two inventors are on the right track (and they are) so they extend the patent beyond the normal deadline. (Good move, Parliament.) The idea behind the pump is to create a vacuum by heating water into steam, and then opening a valve to move the steam into a cooling chamber. A vacuum is created as the steam cools and draws water up a pipe. It is incredibly inefficient but it will pave the way for steam-powered applications. [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The reason Parliament wanted this water pump was because the inventors promised that they could pump out the local mines. Flooding in English mines had made local ore cost prohibitive, so having a water pump was really, really desirable. In the modern day, scientists are revisiting ancient pump designs, looking for new applications. The old Pulsometer pump was inspired by Thomas Savery's original design. It is considered a durable, low maintenance pump used for moving thick liquids or even mud. [2]

Yo, Ho, Ho... Captain Kidd Turns Pirate *

A few years ago King William the 3rd gave Captain William Kidd a letter of mark authorizing him to attack pirates along the New England coast and to harass French shipping. He is a privateer, but his past suggests that he was once a pirate. His crew is unruly and difficult to control. During one trip in his ship, The Adventure Galley, he failed to salute a British Naval ship. The British Navy sent a shot across his bows to remind him. Instead of saluting, his crew turned and slapped their backsides. This did not go over well but what really caused Captain Kidd to take a turn for the worse was when he waylaid an Armenian ship which Kidd considered "French". Unfortunately, it wasn't French and there were English passengers aboard who were stripped of their worldly goods. When word got back to England, it was a political embarrassment so Captain Kidd was declared a pirate. When Captain Kidd realizes the British are hunting for him, he starts burying his assets (also known as treasure) in Madagascar and along the New England coast. One such cache will be dug up on Gardiners Island. Captain Kidd, himself will be arrested, tried and hung for piracy in 1701. They will leave his body hanging in public for three years as a warning to others. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Was Captain Kidd really a pirate? Politically speaking there was a lot of motivation for the government to declare him a pirate. He really goofed when he hit that Armenian ship. It made England look like a pirate nation so they disavowed his actions. But my personal opinion is that he was once a pirate, took a legitimate commission to become a privateer, and at times lost control of his crew who actually were pirates. When you are leading a band of cutthroats it is difficult to back up and say, "Uh... hey... guys! Time out! We made a mistake on that last one. We need to give them back all their stuff." They would have mutinied on the spot... just like they did to the previous captain. Rumors abound regarding Captain Kidd's treasure. It's always fun to think about digging for buried treasure but if you actually want to dig up the New England coastline, ask someone first. You don't want to be arrested. [8] [9]

Too Good Not to Mention... *

* A tax on beards: Beards are no longer the modern style so Peter the Great of Russia places a tax on beards. Priests are exempt. [10]
* The Prussian Army starts goose-stepping. They also introduce iron ramrods to increase the speed of reloading their muskets. [11]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1698, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Thomas Savery - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 December 2015. “Savery's engine had no piston, and no moving parts except from the taps. It was operated by first raising steam in the boiler; the steam was then admitted to the working vessel, allowing it to blow out through a downpipe into the water that was to be raised. When the system was hot and therefore full of steam the tap between the boiler and the working vessel was shut, and if necessary the outside of the vessel was cooled. This made the steam inside it condense, creating a partial vacuum, and atmospheric pressure pushed water up the downpipe until the vessel was full. At this point the tap below the vessel was closed, and the tap between it and the up-pipe opened, and more steam was admitted from the boiler. As the steam pressure built up, it forced the water from the vessel up the up-pipe to the top of the mine.”
  2. Pulsometer pump - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 December 2015. “Riley noted that although somewhat inefficient, the pulsometer's simplicity and robust construction made it well suited to pumping 'thick liquids or semi-fluids, such as heavy syrups, or even liquid mud'.”
  3. William Kidd - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 December 2015. “Some modern historians deem his piratical reputation unjust, as there is evidence that Kidd acted only as a privateer. Kidd's fame springs largely from the sensational circumstances of his questioning before the English Parliament and the ensuing trial. His actual depredations on the high seas, whether piratical or not, were both less destructive and less lucrative than those of many other contemporary pirates and privateers.”
  4. Quedagh Merchant - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 21 December 2015. “The capture of Quedagh Merchant, as well as Rouparelle, caused scandal throughout the British empire, hurting Britain's safe trading status along the African and Indian coasts. Although Kidd felt that both of these captures were legal, and following his commission by his Lords, word spread quickly that Captain Kidd was a pirate. Kidd was later imprisoned and ultimately executed for alleged acts of piracy, as well as murder.”
  5. Possible Captain Kidd Treasure Found off Madagascar. Discovery News (May 8, 2015). Retrieved on 21 December 2015. “A team of American explorers on Thursday claimed to have discovered silver treasure from the infamous 17th-century Scottish pirate William Kidd in a shipwreck off the coast of Madagascar.”
  6. Did Sussex bounty hunter dig up Captain Kidd's treasure?. Daily Mail Online (19 November 2012). Retrieved on 21 December 2015. “Kidd's plan failed and he was sentenced to hang, his decaying body left to rot in public view for three years to deter other would-be pirates.”
  7. Myths and Legends of our Own Land: As To Buried Riches: Kidd's Treasure. sacred-texts.com (1896). Retrieved on 21 December 2015. “Gardiner's Island, a famous rendezvous for pirates, is the only place known to have been used as a bank of deposit, for in 1699 the Earl of Bellomont recovered from it seven hundred and eighty-three ounces of gold, six hundred and thirty-three ounces of silver, cloth of gold, silks, satins, and jewels.”
  8. Pirate Captain Kidd's 'treasure' found in Madagascar. BBC News (7 May 2015). Retrieved on 21 December 2015. “A 50kg (7st 9lb) silver bar was brought to shore on Thursday on the island of Sainte Marie, from what is thought to be the wreck of the Adventure Galley.”
  9. Hunting for the Buried Treasure of Captain Kidd. Weird NJ (2015). Retrieved on 21 December 2015. “The end of Kidd’s life was only the beginning of his legend though, for what most people remember him for is not his adventures, but his infamous buried treasure––which many believe is may still be waiting to be discovered right here in New Jersey.”
  10. Peter the Great - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 21 December 2015. “Peter implemented social modernization in an absolute manner by introducing French and western dress to his court and requiring courtiers, state officials, and the military to shave their beards and adopt modern clothing styles.”
  11. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 320-321. “Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau introduces goose-stepping and iron ramrods in Prussian army” 

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