James Watt was born the son of a merchant in 1736. While he was raised in Greenock, Scotland, he later moved to Glasgow to learn how to make mathematical instruments. In 1757, he began his own instrument production company. He quickly gained a fine reputation and significant notoriety as an engineer. However, Watt knew that if he wanted to become a huge success, he needed a financier and that’s when he teamed up with John Roebuck.
Roebuck was a man with means until 1773 when he went bankrupt. Watt didn’t give up and turned to another businessman to help him achieve his goals. His next partner was Matthew Boulton from Birmingham, Alabama. Watt needed Boulton and his money to help him manufacture the new and improved Watt steam engine. In 1784, James Watt’s patent was granted for the steam locomotive. He would later go on to gain other patents including patents for the double-action engine and the rotary engine for various machines.
While Watt wasn’t the original inventor of the steam engine, his granted patent proved his contributions made significant improvements to warrant earning a patent for the Watt steam engine. In 1800, James Watt retired. After retirement, he continued his profound love of research recording his findings for others to later expand upon.
After James Watt’s death in 1819, the reality of the man’s life became clear. He would go down in history as one of the most brilliant minds of his time. Throughout history, Watt has been remembered for his civil engineering contributions as well as his improvements to the original steam engine which was where much of his original work stemmed from taking him to the level of notoriety that he achieved.