By Rafael Castro, Nadia Fernández and David Pretel

This article examines the transnational operations of the French firm Derosne & Cail, one of the most innovative engineering companies in the mid-nineteenth century. It would become the leading European firm supplying advanced steam-powered technologies and equipment to the international sugar industry. Derosne & Cail’s international expansion was achieved primarily through a global strategy that connected customers and suppliers, particularly by building an effective international network of technological knowledge and expertise. This article explores three aspects related to its international activities from 1818 to 1871 (both before and after Derosne’s death): strategies of commercialisation of steam technologies; relationships with end users; and consequences for industrialising peripheral countries in terms of the transfer of knowledge, technology, and human capital.