James Watt – interesting facts
September 8, 2010 | In: People facts
When James Watt went to work fixing a steam engine in 1764, he probably had no idea how much that repair job would influence the Industrial Revolution.
The University of Glasgow had asked him to repair a model Newcomen steam engine, but as he was working on it, he was struck by how much fuel it consumed.
After experimenting, the Scottish instrument-maker determined that the Newcomen wasted fuel because its cylinder had to be alternately heated and cooled, which consumed a great amount of energy.
So he built an engine in which the cylinder stayed hot, thereby cutting fuel consumption by 75 percent. He received a patent on the device in 1769.
His first engine was used for pumping water out of mines, and by 1783 Watt’s engines had virtually replaced the Newcomen engines.
Watt continued to improve his steam engine, adapting it to run many different kinds of machinery. As a result of his work, steam eventually powered much of the growing industrial revolution.