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James Watt was born January 19, 1736 in Scotland. Known most for his revolutionary improvements on the recently developed steam engine, Watt was a well-known inventor (Taylor). He became one of the most respected faces of the Industrial Revolution that was sweeping through Europe at the time. Watt’s big breakthrough involved creating a separate chamber for the steam to condense in (away from the piston which had previously been causing problems). After 1776, Watt was the primary producer of steam engines for pumping water out of the earth so that miners were able to access the natural resources underground.

Carlyle, who discusses the union of science and art as a force driving the educational system, proposes that these critical domains are “indebted principally to the founders of Schools and Universities ” — attributing the development of education to those who sought it out on their own. It is after this claim that Carlyle points to Watt (as well as a variety of others) as a member of this scientific society that has spawned modern education. However, Watt was still a religious man despite his status as a professor of mathematics at the University of Glasgow's Faculty of Engineering (Wikipedia). He was not a consistant church go-er but nonetheless maintained a strong religious devotion throughout his life. Thus, like the members of the scientific community that Carlyle mentions previous to Watt, he can be a model for a man who was believes in the value of his God-given gifts and this makes him determined to achieve perfection in all of his inventions.


Taylor, Boswell. James Watt: the Man Who Harnessed Steam. London: Macmillan, 1960. Print.

“The Record of the Steam Engine ” (Chapter 8). Information About James Watt. Web. 24 Mar. 2010.

"James Watt" Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 24 Mar. 2010.

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Last modified 26 March 2010