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Darwin Correspondence Project

James Watt


Engineer and chemist. Trained as a scientific instrument maker. Mathematical instrument maker to the University of Glasgow, 1757–66. Practised as a civil engineer in Glasgow, 1766–74. Moved to Birmingham in 1774 and, in partnership with Matthew Boulton, successfully commercialised his improved steam engine design. Retired from the business in 1800.





DSB: Dictionary of scientific biography. Edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie and Frederic L. Holmes. 18 vols. including index and supplements. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1970–90.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.