International Early Engines Conference 2017

By Dave Williams

The inaugural International Early Engines Conference (IEEC hereafter) will be held at The Ironworks, Elsecar, South Yorkshire on May 11-13th 2017. The purpose of the conference is to provide a forum for presentation and discussion of new research into heat engines prior to 1812.

Headline Theme – “Newcomen & colleagues achievements untainted by the smokescreens of Watt”

Background – A wide range of new field and desk research into early engines lacks an obvious outlet, forum or focus and this is the underpinning rationale for IEEC. The event design is based on the International Early Railways Conference (IERC). Repeat conferences are anticipated every 4-5 years.

Conference Details

The conference will open at 12.00 on Thursday May 11, 2017 and close at 16.00 on Saturday May 13. Twenty papers, each of thirty minutes duration are planned, plus visits to local engine houses and related sites. Catering will be provided and relevant publications will be on sale by the sponsoring organisations. Delegate costs are likely to be around £100/person and will offer options for partners and day tickets. Conference transactions will be published as a themed edition of the International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology.

Hotel and accommodation arrangements will not be handled by the conference.


The facilities and support will be provided by Barnsley MBC. The Newcomen Society has agreed to be lead sponsor and the Historical Metallurgy Research Society (HMRS), the Northern Mines Research Society (NMRS) and the South Gloucestershire Mine Research Group (SGMRG) have also agreed to provide sponsorship.


IEEC will be organised and managed by a standing committee, whose members will be drawn from sponsors, venue providers and other stakeholders. Event administration, specifically bookings and publicity will be managed by the lead sponsor and host venue.(

Outline Timings:
• Confirmation of sponsors, appointment of committee and initial publicity – December 2015
• Initial Publicity and call for papers– January 2016
• Deadline for declaration of intention to submit papers – April 2016
• Deadline for submission of authors synopsis of papers – August 2016
• Confirmation of final list of papers/speakers – September 2016
• Bookings arrangements go live – October 2016
• Delegate packs issued – February 2017
• Conference runs – May 2017
• Transactions published and distributed – May 2018 onwards

Ideas for papers already proposed (to be confirmed):
• An account of Newcomen engines preceding the 1712 Dudley Engine.
• Excavation and research conclusions from the 1791 Watergrove Engine House.
• Surveying and researching the UKs oldest complete Engine House at Brislington.
• William Brown, Tyneside’s Master Engine Builder 1745-1770.
• Building the early boilers, trials and errors.
• Was the 1712 Dudley Engine moved there from somewhere else?
• Morton’s Travels, an account of Henry Ford’s engine purchases.
• Revisiting the history of the Pentrich Engine.
• Conservation of the 1795 Elsecar Great Engine.