The water tube boiler, otherwise known as the Babcock and Wilcox non-explosive boiler, was patented by inventors George Babcock and Stephen Wilcox in 1867. The boiler used heated water tubes to generate steam safely; the steam was then collected in a drum and used for power generation.
Prior to the introduction of the water tub boiler, industries relied on under-fire or fire-tube boilers to power manufacturing plants and engines. The buildup of steam inside the boiler was responsible for several explosions. One of the most notable explosions happened in February 1850; it killed more than 60 people and injured 70 more.