James Watt Steam Engine

The Life of James Watt

James Watt was born in 1736 to a family in Greenock, Scotland. His father was a ship contractor and his mother was a homemaker. His mother came from a very wealthy and educated family. James went to school infrequently as a boy but, his mother home schooled him. When he was of age, in 1755, James would travel to London to study instrument making. When he retuned to Glasgow he wanted to set up his very own instrument making shop. However, because he didn't hav at least seven years as an apprenticeship, the Glasgow Guild of Hammermen, any artisan using hammers, rejected his appication, eventhough he was the only instrument maker in the country.

Watt was saved by three professors of the University of Glasgow, who offered him an oppertunity to set up a small shop within the campus. The shop was founded in 1758 and one of the professors, the chemist Joseph Black, bcame Watt's friend.

A few years after opening his shop a friend, Professor John Robison, called steam to James' attention. Eventhoung he had never seen an operating steam engine but, he tried to make a model and it failed to work to his satisfactory. He continued to experiment and read everything he could about steam until one day, when he learned that the University there very own engine. The University had a model Newcomen engine, but it was in London for repairs. Watt asked the University to have it returned and they did. He was able to make the repairs in 1763.

Watt retired in 1800, he retired a very famous person. He still continued to invent many things in his semiretirement, and he would always be facinated by new developments in engineering and science.

James Watt died on August 25, 1819 and was laid to rest on September 2nd.