Illustration of Pressure cooker

1679 Pressure cooker

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Denis Papin pneumatics Illustration of Pressure cooker

Pressure cooker, safety valve

Denis Papin’s early prototypes exploded, so he added a safety valve regulated by adjusting the position of a weight on a lever. Thus he perfected his “steam digester” intended to render bones brittle for grinding but showing how future locomotives would be powered and regulated and how to cook potatoes in ten minutes and a whole chicken in fifteen.

Denis Papin didn’t invent the steam bomb; he wasn’t interested in armaments. He didn’t invent the autoclave; he wasn’t trying to sterilize instruments. He didn’t invent the steam engine; although he thought of moving pistons in cylinders.


to forget or think over choices that grind but seem, eventually, to disappear, give me a break

A job involving emotional and physical distress is called a pressure cooker. Your safety valve is your ability to quit or take time off; if you cannot, you could explode.

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