What impact did the invention of the steam engine have on the industrial revolution?

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In addition to the obvious implications of steam technology in the development of new machines, the steam engine also allowed European powers to explore lands that they previously did not have access to.  This is especially true in Africa where exploration of the continent was generally confined to the coasts because of the difficulty of navigating the rivers of the interior.  With the steam engine, European nations like Britain, France, and Belgium were able to chart new courses to the interior of Africa via the rivers.  Steamboats permitted these nations to stake claims in Africa that would have a dramatic effect on industrialism's expansion.  With the colonies firmly established in Africa, valuable resources were looted that were used to manufacture goods or create wealth.  The colonies of Africa also supplied European industrial powers with new markets to peddle their goods.  The steamship, as well as the maxim gun, were technological innovations that allowed Europeans to dominate Africa for nearly a century.

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The invention of the steam engine had a big impact on the Industrial Revolution. With the invention of the steam engine, many things changed for industries. One change was the location of factories. Before the steam engine existed, factories had to be located by rivers. The rivers provided the power for the factories. Once the steam engine was invented, factories could locate anywhere. They no longer had to be near rivers.

A second impact of the steam engine on the Industrial Revolution was the impact it had on transportation. The steam engine made river travel easier and quicker. The steam engine allowed railroads to develop. This made land travel easier and quicker. Both forms of transportation were important to the businesses because now they could transport their products much easier and quicker than before. The opportunity for more profit increased. The steam engine was very important to the Industrial Revolution.