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George Babcock & Stephen Wilcox

A boiler is a device for heating water and generating steam.

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George Babcock & Stephen Wilcox

George Babcock & Stephen Wilcox

photo provided by the Babcock & Wilcox Company
A boiler is a device for heating water and generating steam above atmospheric pressure. The boiler consists of a compartment where the fuel is burned and a compartment where water can be evaporated into steam.

Water Tube Boiler - George Babcock & Stephen Wilcox

The water tube boiler was patented in 1867 by American inventors George Herman Babcock and Stephen Wilcox.

In the water tube boiler, water flowed through tubes heated externally by combustion gases, and steam was collected above in a drum. The water tube boiler became the standard for all large boilers as they allowed for higher pressures than earlier boilers.

Timeline - Babcock & Wilcox

1867
Patents for the "Babcock & Wilcox Non-Explosive Boiler" (water tube boiler) and the "Babcock & Wilcox Stationary Steam Engine" are awarded to George Babcock and Stephen Wilcox of Providence, Rhode Island. Babcock & Wilcox is founded as a partnership.

1879
Babcock & Wilcox publishes the first edition of Steam: Its Generation and Use.

1880
George Babcock is a founding member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in New York City.

1881
The Babcock & Wilcox Company is incorporated in New Jersey, U.S. An office is opened in Scotland to pursue international business. The first central electrical station in the United States, operated by the Brush Electric Light Company, Philadelphia, is powered by four 73 horsepower Babcock & Wilcox boilers.

1882
Powered by four Babcock & Wilcox boilers, Thomas Edison's Pearl Street station in New York City ushers in the concept of a public utility and the age of electricity for lighting,transportation and industry.

1888
Thomas Edison, who had Babcock & Wilcox boilers in his laboratory, writes that a Babcock & Wilcox boiler is "the best boiler God has permitted man yet to make."

Continue > History of Steam Engines

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