Probably the first pot of boiling liquid witnessed intrigue setting in. The inherent virile of steam to heat and empower movement was used but never defined in a scientific manner.
Steam-powered turbines are mentioned in the 1551 Taqi al-Din. It was also harnessed for Thomas Savery's water pump in 1698. However, frequent explosions kept the experiments within laboratories, till the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth century.
The first major revelation and defined recording of power generated through steam came with James Watt's development of the Watt engine. This coal-powered engine functioned on generated steam. Easy management of coal made the design cheaper to use.
Once it was harnessed, factories were constructed away from rivers. This accelerated the production levels during the Industrial Revolution and enabled the strength of condensation to create the 'vacuum'.