Echo Library, 2009 M01 1 - 124 pages
JAMES WATT - 1905 - PREFACE - When the publishers asked me to write the Life of Watt, I declined, stating that my thoughts were upon other matters. This settled the question, as I supposed, but in this I was mistaken. Why shouldnt I write the Life of the maker of the steam-engine, out of which I had made fortune Besides, I knew little of the history of the Steam Engine and of Watt himself, and the surest way to obtain knowledge was to comply with the publishers highly complimentary request. In short, the subject would not down, and finally, I was compelled to write again, telling them that the idea haunted me, and if they still desired me to undertake it, I should do so with my heart in the task. I now know about the steam-engine, and have also had revealed to me one of the finest characters that ever graced the earth. For all this I am deeply grateful to the publishers. I am indebted to friends, Messrs. Angus Sinclair and Edward R. Cooper, for editing my notes upon Scientific and Mechanical points. The result is this volume. If the public, in reading, have one tithe of the pleasure I have had in writing it, I shall be amply rewarded. THE AUTHOR. CONTENTS Authors Preface . . . . . . v CHAPTLI I. 11. 111. IV. v. VI. VII. VIII. IX. X. XI. Childhood and Youth . Glasgow to London-Return to Glasgow Captured by Steam . . Partnership with Roebuck . . Boulton Partnership . . . . Removal to Birmingham . . . Second Patent . . . The Record of the Steam Engine . Watt in Old Age . . . . Watt, the Inventor and Discoverer . Watt, the Man . . I . . . Childhood and Youth AMES WATT, born in Greenock, January 19, J 1736, had the advantage, so highly prized in Scotland, of being of good kith and kin. Hehad indeed come from a good nest. His great-grandfather, a stern Covenanter, was killed at Bridge of Dee, Sep--tember 12, 1644, in one of the battles which Graham of Claverhouse fought against the Scotch. He was a farmer in Aberdeenshire, and upon his death the family was driven out of its homestead and forced to leave the district. Watts grandfather, Thomas Watt, was born in 1642, and found his way to Crawfords Dyke, then adjoining, and now part of, Greenock, where he founded a school of mathematics, and taught this branch, and also that of navigation, to the fishermen and seamen of the locality. That he succeeded in this field in so little. and poor a community is no small tribute to his powers. He was a man of decided ability and great natural shrewdness, and very soon began to climb, as such men do. The landlord of the district appointed him his Baron Bailie, an office which then had important judicial functions. He rose to high position in the 3 v 4 - EPEE OF JAMES WATT town, being Bailie and Elder, and was highly respected and honored. He subsequently purchased a home in Greenock and settled there, becoming one of its first citizens. Before his death he had established a considerable business in odds and ends, such as repairing and provisioning ships repairing instruments of navigation, compasses, quadrants, etc., always receiving special attention at his hands. The sturdy son of a sturdy Covenanter, he refused to take the test in favor of prelacy 1683, and was therefore proclaimed to be a disorderly school-master officiating contrary i o law...