Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,103 pages of information and 233,633 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
1774 An "experimentally-determined" model of Newcomen's Engine, designed by John Smeaton, was put to work at the Benton Colliery, near Newcastle upon Tyne. The engine was rated at 40hp, used for mine drainage.
Smeaton was able to test the performance of the engine which it replaced and compare it with that of the new engine. The parameter of interest was the'duty', defined in terms of the amount of work done per bushel of coal. The duty of the old engine was 4.6 million ft.lb. per bushel, while that of the new engine was 9.1 million. This was a remarkable improvement on its admittedly poor predecessor.