Drawing. Lathe bench in ink, three views

Watt, James

Drawing. Lathe bench in ink, 3 views “J.Watt Apl 9th 1810”. 12 7/8" x 9" coarse laid paper no watermark

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.

This drawing is one of a set made by Watt during his time in the workshop. They include detail from how to mount a diamond on the end of a wire, to designs for weighing machines, to the construction of the lathe bench present in the workshop. However, the majority concern Watt’s work on his sculpture copying machines, both resident in the workshop. They show how their design evolved over time, including details of framing, feed mechanisms, drill frames and more. These were Watt’s major project in the workshop, and provide us with dates for some of the component parts of the machines stored around the room.

This item comprises notes about the footwheel and crank of the lathe present in Watt's workshop. This is strong evidence that the lathe, with its fittings but without either bench or foot motor, was a bought-in article, and suggests a date for its purchase.


James Watt's Garret Workshop
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