A while ago i ran across a video of an Alexandria steam engine. The Alexandria steam engine was one of the very first engines or motors ever recorded with history and descriptions that date back to the first century ad.
This intrigued me because it was a fairly simple engine that seemed to be pretty effective for the time.
Surprisingly the Alexandria steam engine was the fastest spinning engine for a long period of time even into the age of the internal combustion engines. what makes these engines able to spin so fast is that they can constantly spin in the same direction and no components need to turn around. A normal steam engine or gas engine for example has pistons that change direction less then every second. The way the Alexandria steam engine works is that the large bulb is filled with water.
When a flame is lit underneath, the water boils and due to steam taking up more area then water, all the stem expands and pushes its way out of the tubes which propel it in the opposite direction