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soon see, the same course was followed, although it involved the mastering of three languages, that he should miss nothing.
We note that the taking of infinite pains, this fore-arming of himself, this knowing of everything that was to be known, the note of thorough preparation in Watt's career, is ever conspicuous. The best proof that he was a man of true genius is that he first made himself master of all knowledge bearing upon his tasks.
Watt could not have been more happily situated. His surroundings were ideal, the resources of the university were at his disposal, and, being conveniently situated, his workshop soon became the rendezvous of the faculty. He thus enjoyed the constant intimate companionship of one of the most distinguished bodies of educated men of science in the world. Glasgow was favored in her faculty those days as now. Two at least of Watt's closest friends, the discoverer of latent heat, and the author of the "Wealth of Nations," won enduring fame. Others were eminent. He did not fail to realise his advantages, and has left several acknowledgments of his debt to "those who were all "much my superiors, I never having attended a college "and being then but a mechanic." His so-called superiors did not quite see it in this light, as they have abundantly testified, but the modesty of Watt was ever conspicuous all through his life.
Watt led a busy life, the time not spent upon the indispensable "pot-boilers" being fully occupied in severe studies; chemistry, mathematics and mechanics all received attention. What he was finally to become no one could so far predict, but his associates expected something great from one who had so deeply impressed them.
Robison (afterwards Professor of natural history in Edinburgh University), being nearer Watt's age than the others, became his most intimate friend. His introduction to Watt, in 1758, has been described by himself. After feasting his eyes on the beautifully finished instruments in his shop, Robison entered into conversation with him. Expecting to find only a workman, he was surprised to find a philosopher. Says Robison:
I had the vanity to think myself a pretty good proficient in my favorite study (mathematical and mechanical philosophy), and was rather mortified at finding Mr. Watt so much my superior. But his own high relish for those things made him pleased with the chat of any person who had the same tastes with himself; or his innate complaisance made him indulge my curiosity, and even encourage my endeavors to form a more intimate acquaintance with him. I lounged much about him, and, I doubt not, was frequently teasing him. Thus our acquaintance began.
CAPTURED BY STEAM
HE supreme hour of Watt's life was now about
The supe. He had become in
to strike. He had become deeply interested in
the subject of steam, to which Professor Robison had called his attention, Robison being then in his twentieth year, Watt three years older.
Robison's idea was that steam might be applied to wheel carriages. Watt admitted his ignorance of steam then. Nevertheless, he made a model of a wheel carriage with two cylinders of tin plate, but being slightly and inaccurately made, it failed to work satisfactorily. Nothing more was heard of it. Robison soon thereafter left Glasgow. The demon Steam continued to haunt Watt. He, who up to this time had never seen even a model of a steam engine, strangely discovered in his researches that the university actually owned a model of the latest type, the Newcomen engine, which had been purchased for the use of the natural philosophy class. One wonders how many of the universities in Britain had been so progressive. That of Glasgow seems to have recognised at an early day the importance of science, in which department she continues famous.
The coveted and now histor