Edward Somerset, 2nd Marquis of Worcester

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Edward Somerset,2nd Marquis of Worcester

Inventor of the Steam Engine

Edward Somerset, second marquess of Worcester (1601 – 3 April 1667) is famous for building his 'water commanding machine" in the Great Tower of Raglan Castle. He used his machine to pump a huge spout of water high into the air from the moat. Tradition has it that the sudden noise of his steam-engine drove away a group of protestants from the Castle.

Wall of Raglan Castle
He wrote a book called - 'Century of Inventions' in 1655, although not published until 1663, which included descriptions of An admirable and most forcible way to drive up water by fire and of a Water-work; in 1663 the benefits of a Water-commanding engine were secured to the Marquess for ninety-nine years by an Act of Parliament.
Worcesters Engine
In 1663 and 1669 eye-witnesses saw one of these engines, which had been erected at Vauxhall by the Marquess, raise water to a height of 40ft; this drawing was a speculative attempt to represent that engine. It shows a high pressure boiler and two vessels into which the water to be pumped was forced by atmospheric pressure after the contained steam had condensed; this water was afterwards discharged by steam pressure on the system, subsequently extensively practised by Thomas Savery." Unfortunately neither picture nor drawing are on exhibition. Now was Worcester's name been forgotten in Monmouthshire. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers visited Raglan Church in 1946 and left this record in the Beaufort Chapel. "The Marquesss gave the world the first practical steam engine to be used in the service of Man." (source: Henry, 1st Duke of Beaufort and his Duchess, Mary, by Horatia Durant, 1973)

Edward suggested that when he died a model of his engine should be buried with him. Almost 200 years later, in 1861, this prompted Victorian collector Bennet Woodcroft to mount an expedition, on behalf of The Science Museum, to the vault of Raglan Church, to try to find a model of the invention in Somerset's tomb. Despite opening the coffin lid and searching thoroughly no model was found. Woodcroft did, however, return with one of Edward's fingernails.(wikipedia)

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