Profile of James Watt
His groundbreaking idea was to create
Hi, I'm Christina Hartman with About.com, and today we're profiling Scottish inventor, James Watt.James Watt was born in Greenock, Scotland, on January 19, 1736. When he was 18-years-old, he moved to London to study instrument making.Poor health forced Watt to return to Scotland the following year. He set up a workshop in Glasgow, where he repaired a wide range of mechanical and scientific instruments, like telescopes. In 1763, he was asked to repair a steam engine.The Newcomen steam engine had been invented in 1712, and was mostly used for pumping water out of mines. Watt thought it was poorly designed and inefficient. So, he set out to improve it.For over 10 years, Watt worked on redesigning the Newcomen engine. His groundbreaking idea was to create a separate condenser for the steam. This put the steam to work, rather than having it escape and be wasted.Watt's steam engine became the powerhouse of the Industrial Revolution. Factories no longer had to rely on water wheels or horses. Steam provided a reliable and cost-effective source of power.Watt continued to be an inventor — even after he retired. But none of his work would be as important as his innovation of the steam engine.James Watt died on August 25, 1819, at the age of 83. The watt — the unit of measurement of electrical and mechanical power — is named in his honor.Thanks for joining us for a profile of James Watt, the man who changed the world — with steam. For more information, go to About.com.