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James Watt

Mitchell Library, Glasgow Collection

Keywords: civil engineers, mechanical engineering, mechanical engineers, mechanics, portraits, rotary-motion steam engines, scientific instrument makers, separate condensers, University of Glasgow

A Thomas Annan photograph of a portrait of James Watt (1736-1819). The painting was by John Partridge.

Watt was born in Greenock and became a mechanical instrument maker in Glasgow, working at the University and in business on his own account. He also worked as a civil engineer. In 1763 he repaired a Newcomen steam engine and thought of various means by which he believed he could improve its safety and efficiency. He devised a steam engine with a separate condenser for used steam, and in the 1770s began manufacturing his steam engines in partnership with a businessman, Matthew Boulton, in Birmingham. He subsequently developed the rotary-motion steam engine that proved highly effective in the textile industry.

Reference: Mitchell Library, GC 920.041435 COR

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning



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