This account book relates to a Newcomen engine erected in Bilston c.1713. Thomas Newcomen built the first practical steam engine in the world, a key invention of the Industrial Revolution at Coneygree Coalworks, Tipton, Dudley in 1712. Very little information has survived on this or any other early engine. This account book is thus a unique survival from the earliest period of the development of Newcomen's engine. The book provides detailed information on the working and financing of this engine sited at a colliery at Bilston. It belonged to Edward Short and contains entries in a number of hands, including that of Thomas Newcomen. It reveals a great deal of information about how Newcomen ran his steam engine business and the close involvement of his Devonshire associates. Although it had been surmised that a Newcomen engine had been erected in the Wolverhampton neighbourhood, no definitive evidence for its existence has emerged until now. The account book was passed down the Short family to the present day, prior to being purchased by Wolverhampton City Council.
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