The Governor – controlling the power of steam machines

Power without control is unusable power, and long after the invention of the steam engine, finding ways of applying that power to tasks where consistency was of paramount importance was the 'Holy Grail' which many steam engineers sought to find. The best known of them was Greenock-born James Watt, whose name is forever associated with the story of steam power, although his achievements drew heavily on the innovations of others. The Governor explores the history and development of the centrifugal governor and its role in accelerating the Industrial Revolution. It was the centrifugal governor which brought precision to the application of steam power, and its story can be traced back to 17th century Holland and Christiaan Huygens' development of both the pendulum clock and system controls for windmills.

The hardback book, illustrated with modern photographs, historic plans and contemporary illustrations, will be published by Pen & Sword Books and is currently in production.


The Victorian Photographs of Dr. Thomas Keith and John Forbes White is still available from John Hannavy Publishing, the remaining hardback copies now reduced to half price, just £10.00 + P&P

To order a copy, use the Contacts page.


The Governor – controlling the power of steam machines will be published in hardback and e-book on 30 November 2021 by Pen & Sword Transport Books. The hardback will be priced at £30. Click on the book cover, below to log on to where you can see all of my currently available books. 

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All images and text © John Hannavy