Steel with screw in, brass ended

Watt, James

1 Piece of steel, 6¾” x ¾” x 3/16”, 1 long screw in, and piece of brass on end

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.

This is part of a pair with the previous item, 1924-792/1743. Together, they formed a single horizontal, with four pins set into it at right angles. The horizontal bar broke while being drilled through to accept the fourth pin. Was this a pin-gauge or jig for mass production of some item by Watt and his journeymen? It needs to be checked against other pin gauges also present in the Workshop.


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