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Thomas Newcomen (1663—1729) ironmonger and inventor of the atmospheric steam engine


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Was undertaken in Cornwall and Devon in prehistoric times and continued into the 20th cent. Early mines exploited alluvial deposits near the surface but by the 16th cent. underground working following veins of ore had become the norm. Flood waters limited access to some tin deposits and deeper mining only became practicable during the 18th cent. when Newcomen beam‐engines made it possible to pump water from the workings. Cornish production supplied most of the needs of Britain and Europe until the mid‐19th cent. when many mines were worked out.

Subjects: British History.

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