The steam engine was the first practical means of producing mechanical power from the heat of combustion of a fuel, and its introduction was a vital factor in the progress of the Industrial Revolution. For many years the development of the steam reciprocating engine continued apace, but in the early years of the present century introduction of the steam turbine and internal combustion engine made available alternative methods of power production. From then on interest in the steam reciprocating engine tended to slacken and, although it has shown a number of notable improvements, far more spectacular advances have been made in other power units.
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