Matthew Boulton, 1776
The industrial revolution saw a shift away from natural energy sources like wind- or water-power to a new one that used coal – the steam engine.
In Britain, coal and steam came hand-in-hand. By 1700 miners needed a new, more powerful way of draining mines as they got deeper. Later, engineers like John Smeaton and James Watt strove to improve fuel efficiency so that engines would use less of this expensive fuel.
Without the steam engine, coal production and industrial growth would have been far less.
Here we will look at the development of new power sources in Britain – from muscle power to the steam turbine.