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Scottish mathematician and engineer whose development of the early steam engines was instrumental in powering the industrial revolution.

He was born at Greenock in Scotland on January 19th, 1736 and worked most of his life in Birmingham (many of his papers are held in the Birmingham Central Library). He was a member of the Lunar Society (a discussion club composed of a number of prominent industrialists and scientists who met regularly in the latter half of the 18th century in Birmingham).

Watt is best remembered for his development of the early steam engine. Given a model of Newcomen's steam engine to repair, Watt realised that nearly three quarters of the energy was wasted in heating the piston and chamber. He developed anengine with a separate chamber in which the steam was condensed, thereby significantly increasing the engine's efficiency. He made the further refining of the steam engine his life's work.

Among his other inventions were the centrifugal governor to regulate the speed of steam engines, the parallel motion to convert circular motion to an approximate straight line motion and the steam indicator to measure steam pressure in the cylinder throughout the working cycle of the engine.

He also devised the unit horsepower to measure the the power output of steam engines. His horsepower being equivalent to 550 foot-pounds per second or about 745.7 watts.

As a tribute to his life's work, the SI unit of power, the watt, is named after him.

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1736.Jan.19Birth of the British engineer James Watt (-1819)
1757James Watt becomes a mathematical-instrument maker to Hammermen\'s guild, Glasgow
1765James Watt given a model of Thomas Newcomen\\\'s steam engine to repair and realises it can be imporved by adding an external condenser
1767James Watt appointed surveyor of Forth and Clyde canal
1774James Watt establishes a business in Soho, near Birmingham, with Matthew Boulton to manufacture his improved steam engine
1776James Watt produces his successfull steam engine
1777James Watt erects his first steam engine in Cornwall
1784James Watt patents a steam locomotive
1800Scottish mathematician and engineer James Watt retires to Heathfield Hall near Birmingham
1819.Aug.19Death of British engineer James Watt (1736-)

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