Piece of wood with seven holes

Watt, James

1 Piece of wood with 7 holes, 8½” x ¾” x ½”

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.

The holes in this item have been marked out in with a great deal of care: scribing marks are visible on the top, and have been continued around the sides to the bottom, to ensure that the holes are perfectly aligned. The piece is a near fit as a cross-member for the bed of the reduced-size sculpture copying machine, although it may have been a rushed job as it doesn't quite fit. The dimensions (particularly width and depth) match other existinng components of the bed.


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