Advertisement

James Watt

From Academic Kids


image:James Watt small.jpg

James Watt (January 19, 1736August 19, 1819) was a Scottish mathematician and engineer whose improvements to the steam engine were a key stage in the Industrial Revolution.

He was born in Greenock, Scotland, and lived and worked in Birmingham, England. He was a key member of the Lunar Society. Many of his papers are in Birmingham Central Library.

Contents

Timeline

Engineering Achievements

Watt adopted the centrifugal governor to regulate the speed of a steam engine. (This was already in use for governing wind and watermills.) He invented the parallel motion linkage to convert circular motion to an approximate straight line motion (of which he was most proud) and the steam indicator to measure steam pressure in the cylinder throughout the working cycle of the engine, so showing its efficiency.

Watt greatly helped the development of the embryonic steam engine into a viable and economic means of power generation. He realised that the Newcomen steam engine was wasting nearly three quarters of the steam energy in heating the piston and chamber. Watt developed a separate condenser chamber which significantly increased the efficiency. Further refinements (insulation of the steam cylinder, the double-acting engine, a counter, an indicator, and a throttle valve) made the steam engine his life's work.

Watt was opposed to the use of high pressure steam, and is held by some to have held back the technical development of the steam engine by other engineers, until his patents expired in 1800. With his partner Matthew Boulton he battled against rival engineers such as Jonathan Hornblower who tried to develop engines which did not fall foul of his 'catch-all' patents. Boulton proved an excellent businessman, and both men eventually made fortunes.

He introduced a unit called the horsepower to compare the power output of steam engines, his version of the unit being equivalent to 550 foot-pounds per second (about 745.7 watts).

Watt also invented several other things, not least a copying device for letters.

Legacy

James Watt's model of the steam engine converted a machine of limited use to one of efficiency and many applications. It was the foremost energy source in the emerging Industrial Revolution, and greatly multiplied its productive capacity. (Without it, humans might have continued to provide power.) It was also essential in later transportation advancements, such as the steamboat and locomotive.

Remembrance

The SI unit of power, the watt, is named after him. So is, at least in part, Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University.

He is also remembered by the Moonstones, two individual statues, and a statue of him, Boulton and Murdoch by William Bloye, and a school named in his honour, all in Birmingham.

There are 4 colleges named after him in Scotland, James Watt College in Kilwinning (North Ayrshire Campus) and Greenock (2 in Greenock, Finnart Campus and Waterfront Campus) and a campus in Largs.

Matthew Boulton's home, Soho House, is now a museum, commemorating the work of both men.

There are over 50 roads or streets named after him, in the UK.

See also

and his predecessors:

Bibliography

Rev. Dr. Richard L, Hills, James Watt, Vol 1, His time in Scotland, 1736-1774 (2002), 480pp, many illus., Landmark Publishing Ltd, (ISBN 1-84306-045-0) [ The second volume covering his time in England until his death in 1819 is due for publication in 2005.]cs:James Watt da:James Watt de:James Watt es:James Watt eo:James WATT fa:جیمز وات fr:James Watt id:James Watt it:James Watt he:ג'יימס ואט mk:Џејмс Ват nl:James Watt ja:ジェームズ・ワット no:James Watt pl:James Watt pt:James Watt ru:Уатт, Джеймс simple:James Watt sl:James Watt sv:James Watt zh:詹姆斯·瓦特

Navigation

Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)

Information

  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Toolbox
Personal tools