- Boulton and Watt
B6 4AS), on the A38(M) in Birmingham, UK.It was built in 1817 and used in Netherton at the ironworks of M W Grazebrook] The firm of Boulton & Watt was initially a partnership between
Matthew Boultonand James Watt.
The Engine Partnership
The partnership was formed in 1775 to exploit Watt's
patentfor a steam enginewith a separate condenser. This made much more efficient use of its fuel than the older Newcomen engine. Initially the business was based at the Soho Manufactorynear Boulton's Soho Houseon the southern edge of the then-rural parish of Handsworth. However most of the components for their engines were made by others, for example the cylinders by John Wilkinson.
In 1795, they began to make
steam engines themselves at their Soho Foundryin Smethwick, near Birmingham, England. The partnership was passed to two of their sons in 1800. The firm lasted over 120 years, and was still making steam engines in 1895.
urviving Watt Engines
The oldest working engine in the world is their
Smethwick Engine. Another working Boulton and Watt beam engine, dating from 1812, can be found at Crofton Pumping Station. The Powerhouse Museumin Sydney, Australia, houses the world's oldest working rotary steam engine, built by Boulton and Watt in 1785 to grind malt in Whitbread's Londonbrewery.
The firm left an extremely detailed archive of its activities, which was given to the city of Birmingham in 1911 and is kept at
Birmingham Central Library. The library has since obtained various other related archives.
Watt steam engine
*R. L. Hills, "James Watt" (3 volumes, Landmark, Ashbourne, 2002-6).
* [http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/GenerateContent?CONTENT_ITEM_ID=23849&CONTENT_ITEM_TYPE=0&MENU_ID=10468 Archives of Soho] at Birmingham Central Library.
* [http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=7177 The Powerhouse Museum's Boulton and Watt engine]
* [http://www.revolutionaryplayers.org.uk/home.stm Revolutionary Players website]
* [http://crocat.cornwall.gov.uk/dserve/dserve.exe?dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqDb=Catalog&dsqCmd=Overview.tcl&dsqSearch=(RefNo='ad1583') Cornwall Record Office Boulton & Watt letters]
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