The Early Uses of Steam Power
Before steam power was used wind and waterpower ran factories. These sources of power wereboth extremely unreliable and limited where the factories could be built. It was not until1698 that another source, steam, began to be thought of as a source of power. At this timeThomas Savery made the first practical steam engine. This engine became known as "the miner'sfriend" and was used to help pump water from the mines. In 1712 Thomas Newcomen came up withanother early steam engine that was also used to pump water from the mines. This invention hadimprovements from Savery's engine by using more high pressured steam and was the realbeginning of the use of steam power. Steam Power is what really sparked the IndustrialRevolution.
James Watt further developed the steam engine in the late 1760's. This engine was much moreefficient and could be used for a wide variety of things instead of just as a pump. Thisengine used a quarter of the fuel to do the same amount of work as Newcomen's engine. Watt'sengine was much more practical for use in British factories.
Steam Power's Role in the Industrial Revolution
With the use of steam power, factories could be built near natural resources and where thework force was. Factories started to grow all over England and then spread to the rest of theworld. Cities became more populated because the factories offered a lot of jobs. Work in thefactory was more reliable than work in the fields due to the fact that farming was dependenton the weather and crops often failed. The steam engine could now make machines in thefactories produce materials much faster. By the early 1800's there were hundreds of steampowered machines in the factories. Steam ran the machines in textile mills and other types offactories. In the 1820's lighter and simpler steam engines were made that could be used insmall mills and stores and not just large factories.
This is a drawing of the Rocket Steam Engine made by the Stephensons. This engine had a large impact on how people viewed a steam engin's capabilities. It also shows how far the engines advanced over time.
Steam Power Revolutionizes Railways
Steam engines continued to be improved by using more high-pressured steam while keeping theengine small. Richard Trevithick worked to make a "steam engine on wheels." He continued toimprove this idea and eventually made a locomotive in 1804: moving at 4 miles per hour. Thisset the way for the development of the railroad. Other engineers began making their ownlocomotives. In 1821 George Stephenson made the first railroad line. He persuaded people awayfrom travel on horses and towards the use of railroads. In 1829 Stephenson's Rocket was themost effective locomotive of the time and moved at 24 miles per hour while pulling 13 tons.This was a breakthrough in transportation and changed the way people lived. Railroads were thefastest way to transport materials and products anywhere. No longer were farmers forced towork near markets because their goods could be sent to markets several miles away. People tookjobs away from their homes and families, because they could frequently visit and commute bytaking a train. Railroads also increased the demand for workers in the coal and ironindustries.
This map emphasizes where railroads were built in Great Britain in 1850. Britain is where the Industrial Revolution was born andwhere most early railroads were. This map also shows how railroads could connect an entire country.
This is a map that shows the railroad lines in the United States in 1900. The railroads shown connect the main cities of the country. Today we have increased the amount of railroads a large amount. The United States was slow in following Britain's lead in the Industrial Revolution.
The Invention of the Steamboat
Steam also affected transportation in water. Robert Fulton made the first steamship in1807. It was a paddle steamer known as the Clermont. It was used for river ferry duties.Because early steamships were small they needed to be refueled often and were not able totravel across the ocean. In 1838 the Sirus was the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. Overtime more and more steamships traveled reliably across oceans bringing cargo and passengers tousually in accessible countries. Steamboats carried needed foods and raw materials toindustrialized nations and brought the manufactured products on those nations to smaller countries.
Click on the picture above to go to http://www.steamboats.com/classroom.html
This is a picture of a steamboat. This is the Steamer Cape Girardeau from 1908. The steamboat played a big role in the use of steam power.
Steam's Affect on the World
The steam engine although invented in 1700 was not completely perfected until1870. By thatpoint it's impact on society proved it to be a turning point in history. Without theincreased use of steam power the Industrial Revolution probably never would have taken place.Steam power changed the way that people lived their lives. No longer were people restrictedto working mainly in the fields, but they could now hold reliable jobs in factories. Peoplecould now commute to work if necessary or visit places that were outside their local areawithout it being a long time consuming trip. The steam engine for the first time couldconsistently give power. In these ways steam power changed the world's state of mind whilemaking productivity the most efficient it had probably ever been.
Abbott, David. Engineers and Inventors. New York: Peter Bedrick Books,1986.
Buchanan, R. A.,and G. Watkins. Man and The Steam Engine. Britain: Priory Press Ltd., 1975.
Dale, Rodney. Early Railways. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.
Dibnah, Fred. "History Of Steam Power" BBC Education 1999. URL:http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/dibnah/steam (28 Nov.1999)
This is a reliable source because the author of the site wrote the site for teachers to use in their studies of the Industrial Revolution and steam power. Permission is given for teachers and professors to copy the material to use in their classrooms.
Hart, Ivor. James Watt and the History of Steam Power. New York: Henry Schuman Inc., 1949.
"Industrial Revolution + Steam". Overview of the Industrial Revolution 1999. URL: http://www.msu.edu/user/brownlow/indrev.htm (2 Jan.2000)
This was a extremely resourceful site because it combined all different aspects of the Industrial Revolution and how steam affected it. It was written by a professor and you can email him to ask questions or comment on the research.
"James Watt". Compton's Multimedia Encyclopedia (CD-ROM) c. 1998
Krieger, Larry S., Kenneth Neill, and Steven L. Jantzen. World History, Perspectives on the Past. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath And Company, 1994.
McNeese, Tim. West by Steamboat. New York: Crestwood House, 1993.
Packet, Ed. "Industrial Revolution and Steam Engine" National Railroad Museum 1998. URL: http://www.nationalrrmuseum.org/Ed (27 Nov. 1999)
This is a credible source because it is information form a national museum. The National Railroad Museum is a non profit organization whose main goal is to research the Industrial Revolution and steam power.
Pawson, Eric. The Early Industrial Revolution. United States: Harper & Row Publishers Inc., 1979.
"Robert Fulton." Electronic Historical Publications 1996. URL:http://www.history.rochester.edu/scientific_american (1 Jan.2000)
This source is credible because it was written by a professor at Rochester University. This source had a variety of information on different topics. One of these topics focused on the Industrial Revolution and was helpful to our research.
Siegel, Beatrice. The Steam Engine. New York: Walker and Company, 1986.
Soulard, Robert. A History of the Machine. New York: Hawthorm Books Inc,1963.
"Thomas Newcomen" The Newcomen Society of the United States 1999.URL : http://www.libertynet.org/~newcomen/thomas.html (20 Nov. 1999)
This is a credible source because its is from a society that was created in honor of Thomas Newcomen. The society has sections in England and in the United States and provides information on Newcomen and the affects he made on the world.
Weitzman, David. Windmills, Bridges, And Old Machines. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1982.
"Heating A City by Steam." The New York Times 28 April 1878: 2.
This newspaper article was a direct account of what was going on during the late 1800's. It is a first hand account of how steam power was being used in the cities.
Hornsby, Jeremy. The Story of Inventions. New York: Crescent Books, 1977.
This is a primary source because it was actually written at the time of this event. It was written by someone at the time it was happening for all the people who wanted to read it.
"Steam Expansion Experiments - Congress Wants More Info." New York Times 15 February 1869; Page 4
This newspaper article is from 1869 when the steam engine had a huge impact on the world. It talks about improvements that were made and needed tobe made with the steam engine.
"The Steam Problem." The New York Times 8 May 1877: 4.
This article is a primary source because it was written during the time of steam power use. It is talking about the dangers and controversies involved with steam power.
Watt, James. The Origin and Progress of the Mechanical Inventions of James Watt. London: Front Matter, 1854.
This book is a primary source because it was written by James Watt and was about his work and reflections on his inventions during the time of the Industrial Revolution.
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