James Watt

(1736—1819) engineer and scientist

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Instrument‐maker to Glasgow University, where he applied principles of latent heat to the Newcomen engine to patent the separate condenser in 1769, and found a career as leading steam engineer, conducted mainly (1775–1800) in partnership with Boulton. Watt stopped his assistant's experiments with steam carriages, enthusiastically protected his patents, remained committed to low‐pressure operation, and probably retarded steam innovations before 1800. Other research led to his patenting of a damp‐paper letter copier (1780); experiments with the properties of air; the principle of the marine screw; and many measuring devices, in addition to his re‐specification of Savery's ‘horsepower’ as a standard unit.

Subjects: History.

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