Four brass casting cups, one containing wax

Watt, James

4 Brass casting cups, 1 with wax in

This item is part of the contents of the workshop that Scottish engineer James Watt developed at his home, Heathfield, at Handsworth, Birmingham. 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.

These items are four nesting weights of cast brass, in the form of hemispherical shells. Some of these, the parts of at least two sets, have traces of wax cement adhering. They may perhaps have been used for casting it into cakes, or to receive the excess when a quantity was melted for use. Approximate Weights: 137, 248, 423, 503 g.


James Watt's Garret Workshop
Object Number:
brass (copper, zinc alloy) and wax
Major J.M. Gibson-Watt