The workshop of James Watt, Scottish engineer, 1790.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Watt's workshop at the Science Museum, London. James Watt (1736-1819) was the Scottish engineer and instrument maker who invented the modern steam engine. It was Watt's steam engine which became the main source of power in the textile mills in Britain during the Industrial Revolution. His engine had a separate condenser through which steam from the cylinder was pased and cooled, allowing the engine to be kept hot. This reduced fuel consumption and saved time. The SI (international standard) unit of power, the watt (W), is named after him.