James Watt

Craftsman and Engineer

This 1936 book, published to celebrate the bicentenary of Watt's birth, examines his career as a craftsman and engineer, rather than offering a purely narrative biography. Watt began his life as a maker of mathematical instruments, and throughout his working life enjoyed the challenge of such skilled work. Watt's inventions did much to power the Industrial Revolution and its economic and social consequences. However, he owed much of his commercial success to his long partnership with Matthew Boulton, a far more astute businessman, and a considerable portion of the book is devoted to the achievements of this period. An engineer by profession, H. W. Dickinson researched widely, and published highly readable works on the steam engine, Watt, Boulton and Trevithick. He succeeds in producing a work which appeals to the scientist, the historian and the general reader, without feeling obliged to over-simplify the technical details.