Collycroft worsted textile mill, Bedworth, Warwickshire, c 1790.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model (scale 1:32), cut away to show interior. This model of a typical 18th century textile mill is based on drawings of the Collycroft worsted mill in Bedworth, Warwickshire built in c 1790. Until the invention of the steam engine, water power was heavily used in industry. Water flowed underneath the mill, turning the water wheel. The movement of the water was a reliable and free source of energy, and it powered the machines in the mill through the gears and pulleys. To make use of water, such mills had to be built near rivers. Steam engines, in contrast, could be used anywhere - one of the main reasons why steam power took over in industry.