Piece of mahogany, steel T piece one end

Watt, James

1 Piece of mahogany 32” x 1⅛” x 1⅛” with steel T piece at one end, two movable steel attachments with thumb-screws

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 the arm of an early version of the sculpture reducing machine present in the workshop. The arm is a mahogany bar of rectangular section, with an iron or steel fork screwed to one end to form part of a gimbal joint. On the bar are two sleeves of iron or steel, for mounting the drill and the follower point, each clamped in place by a thumbscrew with pressure pad. One of the sliders has a U-shaped brace with thumbscrew for claming the tool to it. The other may be in one of the drawers of the tall workshop cabinet.


James Watt's Garret Workshop
Object Number:
mahogany (wood) and steel (metal)
Major J.M. Gibson-Watt