|Steam Engine (Empire: Total War)|
|Research Points Needed|
|Building Needed||Ironmaster's Workshop|
|Stream||Metal Industry, Industry|
This mechanical engine harnesses pressurised steam to provide motive power for all manner of machinery.
The power comes from letting steam into a cylinder beneath a piston, and then cooling it rapidly. The partial vacuum created sucks the piston down the cylinder; more steam then enters and is cooled, creating a backwards-and-forwards stroke that can be converted by cams into rotary motion. The engine itself remains stationary, but its power can be transferred by axles, gears and belts to other machines. Some steam engines are simply harnessed to pumps and the reciprocating motion of the piston is used to lift water out of mines.
A steam engine requires water and fuel, but it can be installed anywhere. As long as a fire burns and the boiler has water, it will provide profitable power to a mill or mine.
The practical steam engine was the brainchild of Scotsman James Watt (1736-1819), who improved the earlier machines of Thomas Newcomen and others. It was Watt who first used the term “horsepower” as a measure of an engine’s output – something that still brings joy to all modern petrolheads! He was also honoured by giving his name to the SI unit of derived power, the watt.
The Steam Engine is one of the most important industrial technologies in Empire: Total War. In addition to generating wealth by itself, it allows players to upgrade nearly all existing industrial buildings. Although the upgrades are expensive, they are well-worth the price in the long run.