James Watt (1736 - 1819) MP

‹ Back to Watt surname

Is your surname Watt?

Research the Watt family

James Watt's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Share

Birthplace: Greenock, Inverclyde, Scotland
Death: Died
Occupation: inventor
Managed by: Richard Mortimer Muirhead
Last Updated:

About James Watt

Wikipedia Biographical Summary:

"...James Watt, (19 January 1736 – 25 August 1819) was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both the Kingdom of Great Britain and the world..."

"...James Watt was born on 19 January 1736 in Greenock, Renfrewshire, a seaport on the Firth of Clyde. His father was a shipwright, ship owner and contractor, and served as the town's chief baillie,[while his mother, Agnes Muirhead, came from a distinguished family and was well educated. Both were Presbyterians and strong Covenanters. Watt's grandfather, Thomas Watt, was a mathematics teacher and baillie to the Baron of Cartsburn..."

"...When he was eighteen, his mother died and his father's health began to fail. Watt travelled to London to study instrument-making for a year, then returned to Scotland, settling in the major commercial city of Glasgow intent on setting up his own instrument-making business..."

"...In 1764, Watt married his cousin Margaret (Peggy) Miller, with whom he had five children, two of whom lived to adulthood: James Jr. (1769–1848) and Margaret (1767–1796). His wife died in childbirth in 1772. In 1777 he married again, to Ann MacGregor, daughter of a Glasgow dye-maker, with whom he had two children: Gregory (1777–1804), who became a geologist and mineralogist, and Janet (1779–1794). Ann died in 1832. Between 1777 and 1790 he lived in Regent Place, Birmingham..."

"...In 1759 Watt's friend, John Robison, called his attention to the use of steam as a source of motive power,[15] and Watt began to experiment with it...."

"...Watt's critical insight was to cause the steam to condense in a separate chamber apart from the piston, and to maintain the temperature of the cylinder at the same temperature as the injected steam (by surrounding it by a "steam jacket"). This meant that very little heat was absorbed into the cylinder itself on each cycle, and thus far more steam pressure was available to provide mechanical force. Watt had a working model by 1765..."

"...Watt retired in 1800, the same year that his fundamental patent and partnership with Boulton expired..."

"...Watt continued to invent other things before and during his semi-retirement. He invented a new method of measuring distances by telescope, improvements in the oil lamp, a steam mangle and a machine for copying sculptures..."

"...He and his second wife travelled to France and Germany, and he purchased an estate in Wales at Doldowlod House, one mile south of Llanwrthwl, which he much improved.

He died on 25 August 1819 at his home "Heathfield" in Handsworth, Birmingham, England at the age of 83. He was buried on 2 September..."

"...Typical of many major inventors, there is some dispute whether Watt was the original sole inventor of some of the inventions he patented. There is no dispute, however, that he was the sole inventor of his most important invention, the separate condenser, the parallel motion linkage, nor of his single other commercially successful invention, the copy machine..."

SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'James Watt', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 August 2011, 13:37 UTC, <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=James_Watt&oldid=445665793> [accessed 22 August 2011]

Other References

view all 12

James Watt's Timeline

1736
January 19, 1736
Greenock, Inverclyde, Scotland
1765
1765
Age 28
1767
1767
Age 30
1769
February 5, 1769
Age 33
1770
1770
Age 33
1773
1773
Age 36
1777
December 10, 1777
Age 41
birmingham
1779
1779
Age 42
Greenock, Inverclyde, United Kingdom
1819
August 25, 1819
Age 83
????