Boulton and Watt Steam engine, late 18th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate from Rees' Cyclopaedia volume IV. James Watt (1736-1819) developed an improved steam engine in association with John Roebuck (1718-1794), which was patented in 1769. When Roebuck went bankrupt, Matthew Boulton (1728- 1809) bought Roebuck's share of the patent, and in 1774 Watt moved to Birmingham, where he worked with Boulton, forming a company with him in 1794.