In the early 1800s some people thought steam power might be harnessed in new, dangerous inventions. Spoof prints like this German one capture the mood well.

Steam engines take off

Large steam engines such as those in this gallery are among the most iconic relics of industrial Britain. But for much of the 1700s and 1800s most factories and workshops were either powered by smaller engines like the bell-crank engine or remained unmechanised.

However, while businesses were often small, their demand for power could be large. There was soon a roaring trade in small engines, even second-hand ones.