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James Watt was a Scottish engineer, inventor, and chemist. He was one of the most important contributors to the Industrial Revolution. He is best known for making major improvements to the steam engine. For James Watt’s contribution to industry efficiency, the watt (W) was named after him.
See the fact file below for more information on the James Watt or alternatively, you can download our 24-page James Watt worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- James Watt was born in Greenock, Scotland on 18 January 1736.
- Due to poor health, James rarely went to school. He studied a lot by himself. At school, he was considered stupid.
- Initially, he studied at home, and his parents became his teachers.
- His mother taught reading, and his father taught him writing and math.
- Due to the constant illnesses, he could not play games with his peers, and fishing became his favorite activity.
- As a teenager, James became interested in astronomy and chemical reactions. He also loved to do everything with his own hands.
- After his father gave him a carpentry set, the boy did not stop tinkering – he made models of his father’s devices.
- When he reached the age of admission to high school, he was sent to a gymnasium. He traveled to London for 12 days riding a horse.
- He returned to Scotland and opened his own business.
- He was married twice.
- His first wife was his own cousin – Margaret Peggy Miller, whom he married in 1763.
- Five children were born in the marriage, but only three survived to mature age.
- After the death of his first wife during childbirth, Watt married Ann McGregor. In their marriage, 2 more children were born.
DISCOVERIES AND INVENTIONS
- Many scientists believe that the industrial revolution took place thanks to Watt’s inventions. Some of the main inventions were:
- Steam engine
- Copy press
- He suggested using “horsepower” as a unit of power
- In 1764, Watt was working at the Glasgow University in Scotland.
- The university obtained a Newcomen engine. It was the first machine to use steam to result in mechanical work.
- The university asked Watt to repair the Newcomen engine, but Watt found ways to improve it.
- James Watt did not invent the steam engine, he only improved it. When he registered a patent for his invention, the document stated that he created the steam engine.
- In 1782, the mechanic created a dual-action machine that allowed the steam machine to increase its productivity up to four times.
- Watt patented his steam hammer in 1784. This invention consisted of a flywheel and a conventional lever hammer.
- The first version weighed 54.5 kg and beat from a height of 20.3 cm.
- Then he managed to improve it to a mass of battering parts at 380 kg, and the speed of the hammer was 300 beats per minute.
- A patent for a copy press was filed in 1780. It was a box with compartments for pens and pencils, as well as a ruler, paper, and a special compartment for transfer paper. Stock material was enough for 24 copies.
- In 1882, for the first time in the history of technology, the British Association of Engineers decided to assign its own name to the unit of measurement. Since that time, in the International System of Units, power is measured in watts.
- Watt invented copy ink.
- He was the first person to propose that water was made of hydrogen combined with oxygen.
DEATH AND LEGACY
- Watt appeared on a 50 pound sterling note in 2011. He is only one of two Scots to do so.
- Watt also worked as a civil engineer and is considered to be one of the earliest entrepreneurs.
- Watt became very rich and continued to invent things, including a working mechanism for copying medallions and sculptures.
- After his success, the scientist and his wife enjoyed various trips to Europe, they bought an estate in the middle of Wales.
- He loved to travel.
- Watt was elected to the honorary members of the following communities – the Royal Society in Edinburgh, the Philosophical Society in Rotterdam, the Lunar Society in Birmingham, and the Community of the French Academy.
- He was very honourable and always made sure that his employees and customers were treated well.He suffered from headaches and was known to lie in bed for much of the day – quite the opposite of how you might have imagined a great inventor.
- Most interesting of all, though, was the fact that Watt hated all praise and attention. He refused to be made a ‘Sir’ and said that he did not want a grand funeral.
- He refused from the title of Baron.
- James Watt died in 1819, aged 83. His mental power had not declined. His mind was razor sharp to the end.
- There are statues of him in Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow, and Birmingham. He also had several streets named after him in Greenock.
James Watt Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about James Watt across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use James Watt worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about James Watt who was a Scottish engineer, inventor, and chemist. He was one of the most important contributors to the Industrial Revolution. He is best known for making major improvements to the steam engine. For James Watt’s contribution to industry efficiency, the watt (W) was named after him.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- James Watt Facts
- James Watt profile
- Units of measurement
- Interesting Facts
- The Banknote
- The Horsepower
- A Rich Man
- The Steam Engine
- Father of Industrial Revolution
- The Timeline
- Review Questions
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Link will appear as James Watt Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 7, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
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