James Watt: Culture, Innovation and Enlightenment

Archer, Caroline and Dick, Malcolm (2020) James Watt: Culture, Innovation and Enlightenment. Eighteenth Century Worlds . Liverpool University Press, Liverpool. ISBN 9781789620825

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James Watt (1736-1819) was a pivotal figure of the Industrial Revolution. His career as a scientific instrument maker, inventor and engineer developed in Scotland, his land of birth, but his national and international significance as a successful technologist businessman, scientist was formed in Birmingham, where his partnership with Matthew Boulton and the intellectual and personal support of other members of Lunar network, such as Erasmus Darwin, James Keir, William Small and Josiah Wedgwood enabled him to translate his improvements in steam technology into efficient energy machines. His pumping and rotative steam engines represent the summit of technological achievement for the early industrial revolution in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries and led to future developments in locomotive and steam ship design and mechanical engineering such as the steam hammer. This is the traditional picture of James Watt. His reputation as a hero of modernity was created after his death, not least by his son James Watt jnr. As a result other steam engine innovators were reduced in importance, the context in which he operated was underplayed and the ‘great man’ approach to making sense of the Industrial Revolution became an important dimension of popular historical understanding. This book aims to reassess Watt the man, his inventions and his contribution to the Enlightenment.

Item Type: Book
28 January 2020Published
Subjects: CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-03 - publishing
CAH20 - historical, philosophical and religious studies > CAH20-01 - history and archaeology > CAH20-01-01 - history
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > College of Digital Arts
Depositing User: Caroline Archer
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2018 10:03
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2024 12:18
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/5399

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