Who was James Watt Biography Of 1 Great Inventor & His Journey of Life

James Watt Biography

Who was James Watt? Here is the complete James Watt biography. That will give all details of his life journey and inventions.

He was a Scottish instrument maker and proficient inventor. His tremendous work influenced the shape of modern society. Renowned for his precious work in steam engine technology.

James Watt Biography: Early life Events and Education

It is well known James Watt transformed the world through his industrial revolution. Let start with his birth and move forward by going through James Watt’s life events till his death.

James Watt Birth

James Watt’s biography began with his birth on 19th January 1736 in Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland, United Kingdom. He was the eldest among the five living children of his parents Thomas Watt and Agnes Muirhead.

James Watt Parents and Family

James Watt has the same name as his father. He was James Jr, and his father was James Sr. His grandfather was a schoolmaster and a well-known mathematician.

His father was a well-known citizen and carpenter by profession. Who equipped ships and fixed their compasses and also other navigation equipment. His mother was a well-educated lady and daughter of Robert Muirhead.

James Watt Education

James watt was homeschooled due to his poor health. He was unable to attend Greenock Grammar School regularly. He received his early education from his mother.

He got some primary education from Greenock Grammar School. Here he learned Greek, Latin, and mathematics.

James Watt’s education was not that much formal as he learned many practical things in his father’s workshop.

He got familiar with tools and their usage. Got acquainted with the ships and worked at his father’s workshop.

The Watt family allowed him to choose the profession for himself.

James Watt Wife and Children

James Watt married Margaret Miller, his cousin, in 1764. They together had six children.

Unfortunately, only two of them, Margaret and James, lived to adulthood. In the James Watt family, they both support his father in his business. His wife died in 1773 during the child’s birth.

In 1776, he again married Ann MacGregor. Form her, he had two children, Janet and Gregory.

James Watt Death

James Watt biography was a golden era that ended with his retirement in the 1800s.

At that time world was well known about who was James Watt? For the rest of his life, he traveled and visited his family and friends. He died in Heathfield hall on 25th August 1819.

James Watt story ended here, and his grave is in Handsworth’s famous St. Mary’s Church.

James Watt Story – A life journey

As apparent, life is a combination of up and down. The James Watt journey of life was the combination of the same even and odds.

The success and challenging times in his life are expressed below.

Hard Time

Those were the times when the bad condition made James Watt leave his home. When the commercial disaster was started.

Also, the wreckage of the ship caused more problems for his family. For survival, he has to learn how to trade.

Like business, his father’s health was also declining. His mother also died in 1754.

In 1755, by spending twelve days on horseback, he reached London to earn money.

Here he started to get proper training. Due to extensive work, his health declined regularly. 

Mathematical Instrument Maker

While his training in London, he worked for long hours and ate little, causing health problems. In 1756 he came back to Glasgow.

Now he was a trained instrument maker. The University of Glasgow gave him work to make mathematical instruments.

After a while, considering his abilities, he was allowed to open the shop at University.

Here he created several instruments like quadrants, compass, and scales. He got the position of “Mathematical Instrument Maker to the University.”

While in University, he made friends with a lot of scholars. Especially renowned economic expert Adam Smith and physicist Joseph Black. Those were the friends who brought betterment to his work.

In University, one of his friends, Professor John Robison, once discussed the possibility of a steam-driven car. That was an impractical idea, but that enlightened Watt’s mind about steam.

Partnership with Matthew Boulton

In human history, James Watt has the most important patents. He partnership with Matthew Boulton.

They formed great combinations. Watt came with great knowledge, while Boulton has excellent commercial skills and a factory.

James Watt came with a very efficient steam engine. These are the small-scale engines used to pump water out from the mines. The mine owners saved a lot of their money through these engines.

In March 1776, the modern equipment was introduced by Bentley Mining Company and named the Boulton & Watt engine.

The company took a significant risk by leaving the Newcomen engine. But the Boulton & Watt engine was found to be a more fuel-saving machine.

That was the time for the industrial revolution. As time passed, the Boulton and Watt engines were widely used in the United Kingdom. After some time, these engines were exported worldwide.

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James Watt Inventions

Lots of inventions like steam engines made the world develop fast. The James Watt steam engine is one of the most critical inventions of those times. It brought the world progress in the industry on the right track.

James Watt Steam Engine

In 1763, James Watt was asked to repair the Newcomen engine. That is used for demonstration at Glasgow University. Those were the times when Newcomen engines were used to pump water from mines.

He finds the engine design is not fit and wasting a lot of energy. From here, his interest in the steam engine developed. James Watt wanted to solve the problem and got the idea of using a separate condenser of the steam.

He did not invent the steam engine. But he came with a better version of it. That was more effective and practical.

James Watt, along with his partner Dr. John Roebuck started building an engine. In 1768 the first engine prototype was produced.

After that, James Watt came to Birmingham and met with Matthew Boulton. He, with his new partner, started work on the steam engine in 1774. They produced James Watt steam engines for different industries.

Horse Power

James Watt brought the revolution in the industrial sectors and contributed well. For measurement of the output of the steam engine, he coined the word horsepower. That is measured and compared with the power output of draft horses.

At that time, “horsepower” was widespread for measuring machines and motors. The unit is equal to 550 feet-pound per second. Now in modern terms, one horsepower is equal to 746 watts.


In 1770 and 1771, James Watt designed the micrometer. It was an important invention among the James Watt inventions. It does not work like a modern micrometer to measure tiny objects. But it works like a rangefinder.

Watt’s micrometer is used in surveying works. The Watt micrometer adapted to the telescope and had cross-balls.

In the eyepiece that could be adjusted as needed. He used this tool to measure the exact distances between hills or channels.

Rev Meter

In the 1800s, James Watt built the first revolution counter or tachometer. He developed it to measure the speed of rotation of a shaft in his steam engines.

Who was James Watt Biography Of 1 Great Inventor & His Journey of Life
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It was used in various steam engines at that time. Today tachometers are used in road vehicles and planes, as well as in tape recorders.

Flexible Water Main

James Watt, apart from his mechanical engineering efforts. He also worked as a civil engineer when he was in his 70s in Glasgow and developed a more efficient way to supply clean water to the local water company.

Their primary water source was to the south side of the river. But the city is located towards the north.

The watt structure, finalized in 1810, was designed for flexible pipes of water in Clyde’s bed. Flexible plumbing and sewerage networks have become common.

Do you know Who Was Nikola Tesla Biography Of 1 Great Inventor & His Electrified Life click on the link to read about him?

James Watt Facts

  • At starting he start experimenting on his mother’s steam pots.
  • His first wife was known as Peggy.
  • The Glasgow University professors created the position “Mathematical Instrument Maker to the University” for him.
  • He has poor health to continue school.
  • In 2011 James Watt appeared in the 50-pound sterling note.
  • He loved to travel.
  • Watt discovers external condenser
  • The power SI unit “watt” dedicated to James Watt’s name.
  • He retired at 64 as famous, happy, and healthy.
  • He lived for 83 years.

James Watt Quotes

After getting worth known knowledge about Who was James Watt? Now we have all the possible information about his life. James Watt was an inspirational inventor for all of us. Here are some of his most inspirational quotes as follows.

“My responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus returns.”

“A lie can run around the world before the truth can get its boots on.”

“Liberals have shifted government into a position of being neutral between right and wrong. By concentrating power in government institutions, liberals chisel at the three pillars of society: the family unit, work ethic, and faith. That’s not good for America.”

“We do not have to protect the environment, the second coming is at hand”

“After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back.”

“I can think of nothing else than the machine.”

“I sell here, Sir, what all the world desires to have—POWER.”

“It is not worth my while to manufacture in three countries only, but I can find it very worthwhile to make it for the whole world.”


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