Birmingham was a prospering centre of trade and industry, as this 1827 engraving shows. It was an ideal base from which Matthew Boulton could sell his engines.
Image: Science Museum/SSPL

Matthew Boulton

If there was anyone capable of persuading people of the steam engine's benefits, it was Matthew Boulton. His business acumen and resourcefulness played a major role in encouraging the adoption of steam power on a large scale.

Boulton recognised the potential for building steam engines for manufacturing when he said:

'The people in London, Manchester and Birmingham are steam-mill mad.'

What skills did Boulton possess?