Cast brass frame plate, purpose unidentified

Watt, James

1 Brass plate curved at sides and 7 holes in, with 6 semi-circular upright pieces onsides, 3 with 1 hole each and 3 with 2 holes each

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.

This is a cast brass frame plate for some unidentified purpose. It may be regarded as rectangular in form, with three upstanding lugs along each long side, but with the sides incurved between them. It has been filed over and seems wholly or nearly finished. Four countersunk holes indicate that it was probably meant to be screwed to the face of a piece of wood. Other, larger, holes have been formed for reasons that are not understood. The six upstanding lugs are drilled so that they can bear three arbors running across the plate. The three lugs on one side have each been drilled with an additional small hole. GIven the other items stored by Watt in proximity to this one, there is a possibility that it is the valve gear of a model steam engine.


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