Ten concave glasses ground externally
10 Concave glasses ground on outside
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 lenses appear to have been purchased in bulk and have not always been polished to a fine finish. This suggests that they may date from the early part of Watt's career, when he was working as an instrument maker in Glasgow and would have purchased components in bulk from specialised manufacturers.