James Watt Display

James Watt Display at Kelvingrove

This evening, I am focusing on James Watt, a Glasgow based inventor and mechanical engineer who, through his refinement of the steam engine, was a key influence on the rise in global prosperity as a function on the Industrial Revolution.

Watt’s life spanned the years 1736-1819.  It was during his time making instruments at Glasgow University  that Watt made a design improvement to the Newcomen Steam Engine by addition of a separate condenser which greatly improved the efficiency of the engine which went on to power the Industrial Revolution and thereby create a huge rise in wealth and living standards.

The catalyst for his invention occurred whilst strolling on Glasgow Green  in the form of a ‘brain wave’.  Glasgow Green remains an open space and public park today.

Watt teamed up with a business partner named Boulton to form Boulton and Watt in order to commercialise his invention. This firm proved a success with Watt living to a good age of 82 years by which time he had accumulated substantial peersonal wealth. 

Glasgow Green, Glasgow

Glasgow Green, Glasgow, Scotland


Nelson's Monument, Glasgow Green

Nelson's Monument, Glasgow Green, Scotland


There is a statue of James Watt in George Square, Glasgow and a small section dedicated to him at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. Clearly, one of Glasgow’s most famous sons.

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