Components forming part of model factory from James Watt's workshop
12 Pieces of wood, various sizes, from model of building (inv. 1924-792/7)
This item is part of the contents of the workshop that Scottish engineer James Watt developed at his home, Heathfield, at Handsworth, Birmingham. Although Watt is best known for his work on the steam engine, his workshop contains a wide variety of objects from many different projects, from chemistry to sculpture-copying.
The description of the item was written by Edward Collins, the land agent responsible for Heathfield when the workshop was given to the Science Museum in 1924. Collins could not always identify what he was looking at, but always described what he saw clearly. This has allowed his descriptions to form the basis of subsequent research.
The model's interior comprised over one hundred moveable wooden parts to represent internal walls. However, a study of prints showing the Soho Manufactory shows that the model cannot, in fact, have represented that building - so, its subject remains a mystery.