By the end of the 18th century there were 2400 power looms in England, mostly powered by water. As the new century advanced, cotton mills in England were increasingly powered by steam rather than water power. Reducing the need for water allowed the construction of mills in more populous districts where more workers were available, and close to supplies of coal for steam engines. Steam power increased the speed of the power looms and allowed them to built in larger size, more appropriate for operation by older children or adults than young children.
Invention of the Roberts iron power loom in 1822 caused dramatic expansion of the cotton industry.