James Watt, Scottish engineer

James Watt, Scottish engineer

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Credit: CHEMICAL HERITAGE FOUNDATION/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: James Watt (1736-1819), Scottish engineer and inventor. Watt made numerous practical improvements to the steam engine of his day. By 1790, the superior Watt steam engine had completely replaced the older Newcomen variety. His inventions included the double acting engine, where the piston is made to both push and pull (1782), and the pressure gauge (1790). He also adopted the centrifugal governor to regulate the speed of a steam engine and coined the term 'horsepower' to describe a unit of energy. This engraving by Charles Edward Wagstaff (1808-1850) is after a painting by British portrait painter Sir William Beechey (1753-1839).

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