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Portrait of James Watt, Scottish engineer

Portrait of James Watt, Scottish engineer

H423/0165

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Credit

GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

James Watt. Portrait of James Watt (1736-1819), Scottish engineer and inventor. Watt made many 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); the centrifugal governor, a device that controlled a process by means of variations in the process itself (1788); and the pressure gauge (1790). Watt also coined the term "horsepower" to describe a unit of energy. Watt's innovations, coupled with the business acumen of his partner Matthew Boulton, made him financially successful.

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