- 1 A Watts Box
- 2 cA Mill Engine
- 3 A Newcomen Dynamo
- 4 An Aeolipile
The answer… an Aeolipile
Although the 18th and 19th centuries might be known as the Age of Steam, thanks to the rising use of steam engines and their influence on transport and commerce, the roots of the steam engine reach much further back.
The first recorded instance of a steam engine dates all the way back to the first century AD writings of Hero of Alexandria. He wrote of a rocket-style engine that converted water into steam and used the steam to spin a sphere outfitted with two crook-necked nozzles. The name, Aeolipile, translates to “the ball of Aeolus”–Aeolus was the Greek god of wind.
There is no evidence that the Aeolipile was ever put to any practical use and is believed to have served simply as a temple wonder–a device intended to inspire awe and curiosity in the observer.