“Quartz melted by lightning at Packington.”
- Watt, James
1 Packet, “Quartz melted by lightning at Packington.”
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.
James Watt was keenly interested in geology and, as his engineering and surveying projects took him to many places around the country, he fell into the habit of acquiring geological specimens and samples of rock during his travels. The larger items are all placed together in a single large wooden box in the workshop, but smaller samples are often individually wrapped or placed in small boxes in the smaller workshop chest of drawers.