A Basic Guide to the History of Turbine Engines

A Basic Guide to the History of Turbine Engines

Turbines have become essential pieces of machinery in modern industries. Whether gas or steam, these mechanisms have a significant impact on industrial applications. Turbines have come a long way from their primitive designs to provide power to society’s most important sectors.

If you think the science behind these machines is complex, wait until you hear their story. The history of turbine engines begins in ancient times; here’s a basic guide to lead you through the timeline.

Ancient Egyptian Origins

Did you know turbine engines have origins in Ancient Egypt? Hero of Alexandria, a Roman-Egyptian engineer, first described an archaic turbine-like device in the first century. He and his constituents called it an aeolipile; essentially, the device contained a spherical object that would spin when two connecting nozzles blew steam to move it.

In the coming centuries, Egyptians continued to improve this basic design. In the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, scientists from around the world got their hands dirty, creating their own versions of steam and gas turbines. Even Leonardo da Vinci drew turbine-like schematics.

The Father of Turbine Engines

Most historians credit Sir Charles Parsons as the father of turbine engines. In 1884, Parsons invented the modern turbine. A short decade later, he patented steam turbine ship propulsion. Some of his concepts from this period still hold true today.

Inventors rapidly optimized this technology. By 1899, Charles Gordon Curtis claimed the U.S. gas turbine. Countries used these machines to aid in times of war by powering military ships.

Modern Applications

All of this work culminates in modern industrial applications. Steam turbines dominated much of the 19th and 20th centuries until gas technology took over. In 1995, the company Seismans became the first to manufacture gas turbines to generate electricity on a large scale.

The Tokyo-based company, Mitsubishi, improved turbine efficiency by perfecting combined-cycle processes. Now, power providers can produce energy without wasting materials or power. The history of turbine engines shows just how far human innovation can go.

Turbine engines wouldn’t have gotten where they are without diligent maintenance. Advanced Turbine Support is the leading expert in all things power generation. Contact us today for professional turbine inspection services; we’ll identify current and potential problems to keep your facility at optimal performance.

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