The very oldest form of a steam engine was really a jet-type engine working by reaction.
This is a modernized design made of metal, except for the stopper and glass arms. To operate, it is only necessary to half-fill with water and then gently heat the lower sidewall with a Bunsen burner. The reaction of the escaping water vapor against the outside air as it leaves through the small hole at the ends of the arms causes the main barrel to rotate. The pivot point is in the acorn nut at the top of the unit, so it has excellent stability. This is truly a sturdy design not constrained by hanging chains or breakable glass flasks.