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Creating steam

In the past there was a facility for steam to emerge from the pot’s spout. It was originally generated by a small boiler and passed out through an internal copper pipe. By the 1930s, however, this had ceased to function.

Fallers hoped to restore it using a steam boiler as used in Derry’s shirt factories to iron shirts. This plan proved problematic, however, as it meant having a boiler in one of the firm’s workshops and that raised health and safety issues. It was also going to be difficult to regulate the steam pressure. Too much steam emerging from the spout would make the teapot look more like a kettle.

Edward Meenan undertook much research to solve this problem. It was decided to install a smoke generating machine which produces a plume of white, water-based environmentally friendly ‘steam’. It dissipates within 20 seconds but has the advantage of being visible even on sunny days. This machine can control the function to allow the ‘steam’ to be emitted on the hour every hour. As the firm no longer sells clocks or watches, this prompted Noel Faller to quip, “Although we don’t sell time, we will still tell the time”.

The development of steam power

At various times in the past steam spouted from the teapot, through a pipe from a boiler inside the building.  Although this was a simple form of steam technology involving a boiler and valves, we should remember the teapot was installed in the relative infancy of steam power.

Before steam the only forms of power available for transport and industry were manpower, horsepower, windpower and waterpower.  By 1750 steam engines had been developed to pump water from mines and they were later adapted for many uses in industry and transport, bringing about The Industrial Revolution.

Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) invented the first steam locomotive in 1804 and the railway age was born.  George Stevenson (1781-1848), the father of the railways built many lines and made big improvements in the locomotives.

Just as steam created the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth century, so it changed the world again in the nineteenth century with the development of the railways.

And, at the beginning of the Victorian age in 1837 they were few steamships and lots of sailing ships but by the end of the Victorian age in 1901 there were lots of steamships and few sailing ships.