1768-1780 in United Kingdom
James Watt

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Items related to test firings. Front 3/4 view of whole object against graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

One piece of Wedgwood ware, James Watt, United Kingdom, 1768-1780

In February 1768, James Watt bought a share in the Delftfield Pottery, Scotland’s first industrial pottery. He hoped that science and experiment would make wares that were stronger and more beautiful than before. In 1773 he announced a new form of ceramic creamware. Watt wrote privately that ‘Our pottery does very well tho’ we make damned bad ware.’ It made money but he gradually gave it up as work on the steam engine brought it to fruition. This test piece is one of a set of 35 in total, present in Watt's workshop, and all kept in the same drawer for storage. They are labelled in Watt's hand as having been fired to different temperatures 'of Wedgwood's thermometer', and although it is not possible to be completely certain may have been made by Watt himself as part of his trials at the pottery into new ceramic bodies.

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Science Museum: Energy Hall: James Watt and our World

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

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