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Who knew back then in 1698 that Thomas Savery’s steam-powered dewatering pump would become a commercial success and lead a revolution all across Europe and travel overseas to reach US soil.

The Industrial Revolution from 1760 to 1840 was driven through transitions from hand production methods to machines and mechanized factory systems. Indefinitely with a broad range of technological innovations with the steam engine leading the way, the world also experienced an unprecedented rise in the rate of population growth. 


According to a report by Business Insider, 49 A1 Peppercorn trains were built with the last one coming out in 1949. However, all 49 were destroyed in 1966. Yet, with the help of the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust in 1990, the 50th unit was built to preserve history for future generations. It took almost 18 years to complete and cost around $5 million to finish.


In light of this information, let us take a closer look at history and see how the power of steam left its mark on the 18th Century.    

1.Steam Powered Pumps

Perhaps the biggest progenitor to all steam-powered devices was the water pump that further helped in bringing about the Industrial Revolution. It was commercially produced and a huge success. The basic mechanism behind its achievement was to use condensing steam that would create a vacuum through which was able to raise water from below and raise it further with the power of steam.


While larger models did pose the inability to move them considerable amounts of distance, smaller engines were soon introduced. Invented by Thomas Savery, the devices were usually implemented in clearing water clogged mines, in pumping stations for filling dried-up wells, and soon saw their calling as the power source for water wheels the run textile machinery.


Even though it proved to be quite a fundamental technology during the time, the engine itself was remarkably low in cost to build. 

2.Steam Locomotives

People of our generation haven’t heard the phrase the “dread of the beast”, because we were born in an era where cars and vehicles flooded our road networks spreading across the globe. However, back in the old days, people used horse carts and other animals to get from point A to point B.


This made things not only slow but also quite tedious as a lot of effort went into making sure that horses and other animals were treated properly and stayed healthy. However, all of this changed with the invention of steam locomotives. Richard Trevithick was the one who built the first steam locomotive in 1802, followed by John Blenkinsop who built the first commercially successful locomotive.


However the most famous of them all was Flying Scotsman with an officially recorded 100 mph top speed closely followed by LNER Class A4, 4468 Mallard which holds the world record of being the fastest steam locomotive at 126 mph.

3.Passenger Steam Ships

Often described as the major driver of the first wave of trade globalization, the steamships were often referred to as a steamer and were propelled by one or more steam engines. If you have wondered what the prefix PS or SS meant, then you should know that they stand for paddle steamer and screw steamer respectively.


The 116-ton Aaron Manby was the first steamship to go to sea. With steam engines being mounted on to larger vessels, steamships didn’t require sails and thus travelled across the world independently regardless of wind patterns.


Due to this, many new routes became available, and steamships were able to heavily contribute to the increase in international trade at a scale and scope no one has ever seen before. Amongst some of the most famous steamships, the SS Archimedes was built in Britain in 1839 and was also the world’s first screw propeller-driven steamship. 

4.Boosting Agriculture Market

An evident boost to agriculture during the era was also recorded. With steam locomotives able to carry tons of products with relative ease and at blazing fast speeds during the time, many farms were settled near railway lines.


This also ensured that farmers could quickly load the train compartments and know that their products will reach desired destinations without rotting or losing their quality along the way. Previously this was managed by horse carts which were slow and could only carry a limited amount of agricultural produce. Through the steam locomotives, everything changed.


Some of the most prominent technologies brought about by the Industrial Revolution included the Dutch plough, seed drill and the threshing machine. Furthermore, metalworking techniques and machine tools developed during the era brought mass production of agricultural equipment such as binders, combine harvesters, and reapers.  

5.More Locations for Factories

One of the major impacts of massive scale industrialization was the adoption of factory systems. They not only contributed towards the urbanization of major cities but also led to an increase in their population. This was due to the fact that a large number of workers migrated from suburbs and rural areas to urban settlements to meet the market demand for increased labor.


In fact, the mills and associated industries in Manchester were soon nicknamed Cottonopolis as the world’s first industrial city. Much of the production and manufacturing processes during the era were carried out by small mills that were typically water-powered. Soon each factory would have its own steam engine along with a chimney.


Prominent names included Josiah Wedgwood and Matthew Boulton amongst others who heavily endorsed and employed the factory system. Plus with upgrades to the steam engine made early on, it meant that a factory could be opened at any site without previously held restrictions and limitations.   

6.Textile Mills

Many historians have reported that the greatest benefactor of the Industrial Revolution was indeed the Textile Industry as the industry saw much of its improvements in machinery during the time. Textile manufacturing and production grew at a tremendous rate as a result.


Prominent areas included south Lancashire in Britain, Catalonia in Spain, and New England in the United States, for Germany textile manufacturing was concentrated in the Upper Silesia, Ruhr Region, and the Wupper Valley.


So what happened really? A lot to say the least! The discovery of electricity and its many industrial applications along with railroads, steamboat, telegraph, and various other innovations massively increased worker productivity.


Before this textile manufacturing was often followed through by individual workers, however innovations in carding and spinning enabled advances in cast iron technology. Steam-powered beam engines and rotative mill engines became common to use, leading to the construction of more sophisticated power looms and weaving sheds. The scale of production thus reached a tipping point that exceeded all expectations.

7.Work-Life Changes

People from around the land became more interested in settling with families in urban locations. With steam locomotives, travelling from the outer city to inner parts of the city also became fast, affordable, and efficient. This further led to incredible urbanization and the rise of new cities.


If you don’t believe me here is a quick fact for you. By the 18th Century, only 3% of the world’s population lived in cities. By the beginning of the 21st Century, nearly 50% of all population in the world is found living in big metropolitans. To further elaborate, Manchester had a population of 10,000 people in 1717, by 1911 it surpassed 2.3 million.  

8.Job Creation

With factories opening up and industrialization being carried out at an unprecedented scale, no doubt the demand for labor intensified to gratify the need of businesses and establishments to grow bigger with the passage of time. A prominent movement to protect young children from working was also instigated during the era.


The first general laws against child labor known as the Factory Acts were passed in Britain, through which children younger than nine years of age were not allowed to work, and children, in general, were not permitted to work at night. Furthermore, those who were 18 years old or younger were limited to work for not more than 12 hours in a day.


While this led to a complete ban on the employment of women and children in the mining industry some ten years later, it is however sad to say that child labor was still significantly present in one form or another in Europe and the United States till the 20th Century.  

9.Effect on Economy

Large-scale industrialization and major improvements in mechanized manufacturing along with the adoption of the factory system was bound to leave a resounding impact on the economy. Not only was it instrumental when it came to economic development, but it was also an event that shook the whole world. It was able to change the face of nations completely, and its widespread impact is still echoed to this day.


To conclude this post, I thought missing out on mentioning the Steampunk genre would be unfair. This retro-futuristic science fiction and fantasy category is no doubt inspired by inventions and cultural fashion, including the architectural style of the steam era.


Without question, the Industrial Revolution was a major turning point in the history of humankind. With steam and water power propelling it further, the whole world witnessed how advanced machinery and technology of that time could impact lives.


I hope this post was able to provide you with meaningful insights regarding how the steam engine paved for other remarkable events during the 18th Century. For more questions regarding the topic, please feel free to leave a query in the comment section below.

Author Bio

Samantha Kaylee

Samantha Kaylee currently works as the Head of Digital Marketing Team at Dissertation Assistance, a renowned platform trusted by students for their do my assignment queries. During her free time, she likes to play lots of domino games whenever friends gather at her place.