Empty wooden box, once nailed on cover missing

Watt, James

1 Box 21½” x 5” x 3¼”, empty

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.

An empty deal box, of the dimensions noted. It once had a cover nailed on, which is now missing. Perhaps this was originally the bottom. On one side is written, upside-down, in large round-hand in ink, the word “Condenser”. In another hand, much later, is written the right way up and in pencil: “Tools from Lathe next Window”. The latter may indicate that the turning tools, now in the right-hand drawer of the workshop lathe bench may have been moved. Perhaps this box previously contained Watt's model of the separate condenser dating to 1764-65.


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