We said that Denis Papin built the first piston steam engine, which could do work by cooling a piston-cylinder filled with steam. The volume change and resulting vacuum caused by the condensing steam would force the piston to move.
Thomas Newcomen, who was English, used this concept to build the Newcomen steam engine in about 1710. This excellent animated gif borrowed from Wikipedia illustrates how the device worked. The cylinder was filled with steam, which was then condensed with the aid of a cold source.
Concepts like this were central to advancement of science and the development of modern life. Work is being done here, but the source of the work is not anything in motion. Rather, it is caused by heat. The work is the result of boiling and subsequent condensation. People began to realize the equivalence between heat and work, which was not obvious before. Today we recognize these are just different kinds of energy.