One of the few surviving 'Atmospheric Engines'. Built in 1720 to Thomas Newcomen's original design, this is the oldest preserved steam engine in the world and can be seen with its original beam and piston in motion, though, sadly, no longer powered by steam.
- Part disabled access
Dartmouth Tourist Information Centre
Dartmouth Tourist Information Centre, The Engine House Mayors Avenue Dartmouth Devon TQ6 9YY
Summer: Mon-Sat 1000-1700, Sun closes 1400. Winter: Mon-Fri closes 1630, Wed closes 1300.
By Bus: X81
By Rail: Kingswear (Paignton & Dartmouth Railway) / 1 mile
The engine was built about 1720 and was first used to pump out the Griff Colliery in Staffordshire. It was moved and rebuilt several times before ending up in Hawkesbury Junction, Warwickshire pumping water into a canal, where it retired from work in 1913. In 1964, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Thomas Newcomen's birth, it was reassembled in Dartmouth, the home of its inventor, by the Newcomen Society.
The Dartmouth Engine shows most of the features of the earliest Newcomen Engines. It has a simple, untrussed, wooden beam with arch heads, chain connections and wooden spring-beams, all believed to be original. The valve mechanism is more recent, but is activated automatically by a plug-rod, as in the early engines. However, there is one significant later feature in the shape of a 'pickle-pot condenser, fitted directly beneath the cylinder.