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James Watt

James Watt, (1736-1819). Scottish engineer, a major contributor to the Industrial Revolution. He became a mathematical instrument maker at Glasgow University in 1757 and while repairing a model of New-comen’s steam engine (1764) he saw that improvements could be made. In 1765 he constructed the first steam engine to have a separate condenser. He entered into partnership with Matthew Boulton to produce steam engines and in 1781 invented the ‘sun and planet’ wheel mechanism, which converts reciprocating (backward and forward) motion into rotary motion. The electrical unit the ‘watt’ was named in his honour.

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