A Huguenot, Papin was greatly affected by the increasing restrictions placed on Protestants by Louis XIV of France and the King's ultimate revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. In Germany he was able to live with fellow Huguenot exiles from France.
While in Marburg in 1690, having observed the mechanical power of atmospheric pressure on his 'digester', he built a model of a piston steam engine, the first of its kind.
He continued to work on steam engines for the next fifteen years. In 1695 he moved from Marburg to Kassel. In 1705 he developed a second steam engine with the help of Gottfried Leibniz, based on an invention by Thomas Savery, but this used steam pressure rather than atmospheric pressure. Details of the engine were published in 1707.
During his stay in Kassel, Germany, in 1704, he also constructed a ship powered by his steam engine. The engine was mechanically linked to paddles. This would then make him the first to construct a steam boat.
The last evidence of Papin's whereabouts was a letter he wrote dated January 23, 1712. At the time he was destitute, and it is believed he died that year and was buried in an unmarked pauper's pit.
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