Lathe bed bracket


1 Iron lathe bed bracket

This item is part of the contents of the workshop that Scottish engineer James Watt developed at his home, Heathfield, at Handsworth, Birmingham, from c.1795 through to his death in 1819. 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.

This is a stool for the bar of the lathe present in the workshop, positioned beneath the window. This duplicate of the stool under the right end of the bed-bar would have been original equipment, intend to support the left end of the bar if it were withdrawn from the socket in the headstock, to allow work of greater diameter or greater length to be accommodated. The absence of fixing holes shows that this stool was never used on the present lathe bench.


James Watt's Garret Workshop
Object Number:
lathe bed
Major J.M. Gibson-Watt