James WattBorn- January 19, 1736Died- August 25, 1819

Personal Life

James Watt was a Scottish instrument maker and was born on January 19, 1736 in Greenock, Scotland. His mother Agnes Muirhead came from a wealthy family and was well educated providing the right tools for James to also recieve a good education (BBC). Although Watt did not initially attend school regularly, he later went to Greenock grammar school where he excelled with engineering and mathematics. Watt was sent to London in 1755 to be guided by a mathematical instrument maker. What was offered a small workshop at the University of Glasgow where Watt become close to his mentor Joseph Black. Watt married his cousin Margaret Miller in 1764 and had five children but only two had lived to be eighteen. During much of the 1760's Watt had devoted most of his time to finding ways on improving the steam engine and was extremely successful because by 1765 he had produced his first model of the steam engine. Margaret Miller died in 1773 due to childbirth but Watt remarried in 1776 to a women named Ann MacGregor (New).
James Watt's Home in Heathfield

Steam Engine

James Watt is given credit for inventing the first modern steam engine. The idea of steam engines begins long before James Watt but Watt definitely modernized the design of the steam engine by changing a few things around. First, Watt discovered the idea of a seperate condenser (History). This idea came to Watt in 1765 where he wrote his idea in a journal. Watt believed that if he kept the steam in a seperate vessel from the cylinder, he could then keep the vessel cool and the cylinder hot at the same exact time (History). This idea proved to work because James Watt is now credited with an improvement that was a major stepping stoned in the Industrial Revolution.
Original James Watt Condenser

Conclusion and Honours

James Watt was a man who was committed to making improvements on things he felt necessary. One of those things being the steam engine where he clearly showed the world that he was capable of making great improvements to certain inventions during the Industrial Revolution.The fact that the word watt which is a measurement in electricy is named after him clearly shows his place in the engineering world. He is definately a man who mad a tremendous impact on the Industrial Revolution because the steam engine may have been the single most important invention during this time period. There are also over 50 street names in the United Kingdom named after him which shows how he is honored for his great work (Inventor).


January 19, 1736- James Watt was born in Greenock, Scotland

1764- James Watt invents the condenser

1769- Watt patents an improved condenser for the steam engine

1769- Watt patents his first improved steam engine

1775- Elected fellow of the royal society

1782- Invented double acting engine

1800- Watt Retires

August 25, 1819- James Watt dies at the age of 83

1960- The unit Watts is named after James Watt


"BBC - History - James Watt." BBC - Homepage. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.

Frederik Von Breda, Karl. Portrait of James Watt. Digital image. Wikipedia. Web. 26 Sept. 2011.

"HistoryMole Timeline: James Watt (1736-1819)." HistoryMole Timeline: History Through Historical Timelines. Web. 25 Sept. 2011

"Inventor James Watt Biography." The Great Idea Finder - Celebrating the Spirit of Innovation. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.

James Watt Early Condenser. Digital image. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.

"History of the Steam Engine - James Watt." Inventors. Web. 25 Sept. 2011

Skelton, Percival. Watt's House "Heathfield" Digital image. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.

"Watt, James." Info:Main Page - New World Encyclopedia. Web. 25 Sept. 2011.