The Market Revolution, Industrialization, and New Technologies Questions and Answers

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

The steam engine impacted the industrial revolution in a variety of ways: It allowed for increased European exploration and the colonization of the African continent. Steam engines allowed businesses to transport products quickly and easily, leading to increased profit. The steam engine was also used in manufacturing and machinery, meaning that factories no longer needed to rely on water mills or be located near rivers for energy. 

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The steam engine impacted the Industrial Revolution in many ways, much more than the idea of travel that immediately comes to mind. Obviously the steam engine would help with travel and transportation in great ways, allowing goods and and resources to be transported in large quantities to different areas so that production could be undertaken, however it did so much more than that.

The steam engine was incorporated into machinery, making the first true industrial machines. Being able to provide motion and power using steam revolutionized the work of many industries, allowing them to stop using either the energy from wind or water or the physical energy of a person or beast moving the machinery.

The archaic practice of using a windmill, for example, could be replaced by a much more compact steam turbine engine that would grind flour—and motion could be used in all sorts of facilities, regardless of scale. The level of power output a steam engine offered enabled production facilities to...

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Early pioneers Thomas Newcomen and James Watt invented large, stationary steam engines in the 18th century, which allowed factories to locate away from water sources. In the 19th century, refinements to the steam engine made them light enough to have applications for mobile movement.

The steam locomotive is a prime example of a perfect application the use of a mobile steam engine, and its debut payed a significant role in the industrial revolution. Coupled with steam-powered boats and ships, goods made from factories could now be sent virtually anywhere in the world via railroads and steamships.

Businesses which had previously depended on local markets suddenly had opportunities to offer products to a much larger audience, and many companies profited handsomely.