Mill girls working with spinning frames in a Manchester cotton mill, 1851. Women made up a large proportion of the expanding factory labour force.
Image: Manchester Archives & Local Studies

How to build a bigger, better engine

In the early 1800s, industrialisation accelerated. New overseas markets and a thriving population demanded more and more goods. Power-driven machinery was used to keep up with demand, and this increasingly depended upon the steam engine.

Not only was industry's total output growing, but individual factories began to increase in size. Large factories became far more common. Making steam engines suitable to drive them required new technical developments.

How did engineers help industry get bigger?