As soon as a mine delves below the water table, water is a problem and flooding a constant danger.
Pumping or lifting the water allows the miners to reach richer, deeper mineral seams. A steam beam engine, linked to a pump, can lift enough water to make it economically sensible to dig deep shafts.
Historically, Thomas Newcomen was the first develop a practical "atmospheric" engine for draining deep mines sometime around 1710. His design had problems and was very inefficient, but it worked well enough to be widely adopted where coal was cheap. It was an atmospheric engine because the steam cooled, thus sucking the piston down the cylinder. The need to repeatedly warm and cool the machine made it wasteful.
Jame Watt's beam engine design was altogether more efficient. He had a separate steam condenser, and kept the cylinder at a constant temperature. He as also lucky in his choice of working partner, Mathew Boulton, who proved an astute business manager and lobbyist; he even persuaded the British Parliament to extend their patent, guaranteeing them further profit!
- Level 1
- 3 Turns to Build
- 2500 Coin
Note: Abilities apply to all types of steam-pumped mines.