Old Bess was a pioneer in powering factories with steam.
Soho Manufactory was intended to be water powered, but the river was inadequate - summer droughts threatened to halt work. Old Bess was a 'returning' engine, pumping water from the bottom of a water wheel to the top so it was continuously recycled.
Returning engines were widely used before ways of directly driving rotating machinery by steam were developed. Perhaps Old Bess influenced people's perceptions of steam power. How?