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Remembering James Watt, the brain behind steam engine

James Watt was a famous inventor, engineer, and chemist. He is well known for improving the steam engine model by Thomas Newcomen – who had developed one in 1712. Watt engine’ famously had a huge impact to the Industrial Revolution.

Watt’s interest in the technology of steam engines rose while he was working as an instrument maker at the University of Glasgow. He found that earlier engines used up huge chunks of energy in over and over cooling, reheating the cylinder. Watt used a separate condenser, which to the advantage, improved the efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of steam engines. Soon he adapted his engine to bring rotary motion into the picture.

Watt made partners with Matthew Boulton after finding it difficult to commercialise his invention. The partnership, which laid foundation for a new firm turned successful and Watt became a wealthy man.

Post retirement, Watt continued his path to creating new inventions but came closer to his success with the steam engine.

Watt was behind the concept of horsepower, and the SI unit of power was named after him.

Watt left a huge impact on the scientific community. Of Watt, the English novelist Aldous Huxley (1894–1963) wrote; “To us, the moment 8:17 A.M. means something – something very important, if it happens to be the starting time of our daily train. To our ancestors, such an odd eccentric instant was without significance – did not even exist. In inventing the locomotive, Watt and Stephenson were part inventors of time.”

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