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There are a variety of different types of steam engines. They basically are just pistons in which steam pushes, and in a variety of ways via linkages, all end up with an axle spinning in a circular motion. Some steam engines can be reversed. There are three ways that this can work: 1) Engine can be reserved by linkages to change how the steam is piped in by a Stephenson's linkage, which usually looks like some sort of lever, complex looking linkages, with an arc piece that guides the lever. 2) For double cylinders, a valve can reverse the direction of the steam flow, and therefore the engine runs backwards. 3) clutch driven, the engines only runs in one direction, but with the use of gears, the drive shaft can be reversed. Flywheel This is usually a large heavy wheel, and it does have a purpose.
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