WORLDKINGS - Worldkings News - Europe Records Institute (EURI) Thinktank: House the oldest working engine in the world


( The Smethwick Engine is a Watt steam engine which was installed near Birmingham, England, and was brought into service in May 1779.

Thinktank, Birmingham (formerly known as simply Thinktank) is a science museum in Birmingham, England. Opened in 2001, it is part of Birmingham Museums Trust and is located within the Millennium Point complex on Curzon Street, Digbeth. Over the years, the museum acquired individual artifacts, as well as entire collections, that were related to local industry and the history of science and technology.

The Smethwick Engine is a Watt steam engine made by Boulton and Watt, which was installed near Birmingham, England, and was brought into service in May 1779. Now at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum, it is the oldest working steam engine and the oldest working engine in the world.

Originally, it was one of two steam engines used to pump water back up to the 491-foot (149.7 m) summit level of the BCN Old Main Line (Birmingham Canal) canal at Smethwick, not far from the Soho Foundry where it was made. The other engine, also built by Boulton and Watt, was at the other end of the summit level at Spon Lane. In 1804 a second Boulton and Watt engine was added alongside the 1779 engine.

In 1892, a replacement engine was built in a new pumping house, now Grade II listed, next to Brasshouse Lane, as the original Smethwick Engine was considered uneconomic to repair; the latter was removed for preservation in 1897–98 to the BCN, later British Waterways, Ocker Hill depot where it remained until acquired by Birmingham City Council. It is now part of the collection of Birmingham Museums and is on display at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum at Millennium Point.

Although the previous science museum was free to enter, Thinktank charges an entrance fee. In 2005 the museum underwent a £2 million upgrade, including the installation of a planetarium. By 2007 it had received over 1 million visitors. In April 2012, Birmingham Museums Trust took over governance and management responsibility for Thinktank, along with eight other sites.

According to Wikipedia

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