Thomas Tredgold (1788-1829) has been described as 'the most influential technical author of his generation and possibly of the nineteenth century'. His writings contributed greatly to the wider understanding of engineering, and it is his definition of civil engineering that the Institution of Civil Engineers wrote into their charter of 1828. Published in 1827, this work provides a historical survey and explanation of 'a masterpiece of human contrivance'. Tredgold breaks his subject down into ten sections, each covering areas such as the properties of steam, the differing means of harnessing its power, the history of the steam engine's invention and improvement, and the various applications of steam power. Containing many tables, formulae and line drawings, this thorough work complements Charles Frederick Partington's Historical and Descriptive Account of the Steam Engine (1822), which is also reissued in this series.