With the development of the steam engine in the early nineteenth century, Glasgow's long association with this trademark industry was born.
In August 1812 the engineer and inventor Henry
Bell made the initial voyage on his steam
boat Comet. He was able to shorten the time it had
taken to make the journey from Port Glasgow to Broomielaw and
brought to an end the reliance upon good wind and the right tide.
He began to provide reliable journeys between various parts of the
greater Glasgow area. It was the first time that a steam boat
business provided regular passenger travel in Europe. Though he was
soon passed by his rivals in business, he had paved the way for the
shipbuilding industry in Glasgow
Men such as John Napier and Duncan McArthur then established
names for themselves in building steam engines. By 1832 there were
over 60 steam boats making their way through the Clyde. And it was
not long before Glasgow became a centre for that other great steam
industry, the railway locomotive.
The Riverside Museum is now providing a
suitable Clydeside location to tell more of the story of Glasgow's
success in steam powered transport for both land and sea.
More on the history of the River Clyde (Back to