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INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: A DOCUMENTARY HISTORY
Series Three: The Papers of James Watt and his Family formerly held at Doldowlod House, now at Birmingham Central Library

Part 1: Correspondence, Papers & Business Records, 1687-1819

Part 2: Correspondence, Papers & Business Records, 1736-1848

Part 3: Correspondence, Papers & Business Records, 1736-1848

Detailed Listing - Part 2

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James Watt, 1736-1819 Personal Correspondence

JWP 3/37 1793-1809 Letters from various correspondents, 1794-96, including Professor Anderson, Matthew Boulton (enthusiastic about the application to business of their two sons, the state of orders, and the progress of the new factory, 1794), Robertson Buchanan, Abbé Celonne, J Cochrane, Rev E Colne, W Craig, A Dalrymple, A Donald, J Edwards, Samuel Galton jnr (regarding the death of Wedgwood), M. Guyot, William Jardine, Chevalier Lindriani, James Miller, Robert Muirhead, T Parker, Dr Roebuck, M Stark, J Thompson, Tom Wedgwood, Ambrose Weston (regarding pneumatics and his ill child), W Wilkinson (regarding Bersham stoppage). Also includes a few copy letters of James Watt junior and miscellaneous extracts, c1808-09, a letter from James Watt to James Watt junior, 1808 describing a radiator for steam heat he used to warm his room at Harpers Hill about 1784-85, and a letter from James Watt junior to Robertson Buchanan of Glasgow, 1809, saying that c1795 Matthew Boulton directed the installation of steam heating for Dr Withering, having begun alterations to his own house at the same time, "[he] resolved to heat all his rooms by steam and put up a boiler for that purpose in one of his cellars. Circumstances occurred to prevent his carrying his intentions into effect, but the subject underwent frequent discussions and the modes for effecting it were amply considered". (61 documents)


JWP C1/22 1794 Letter from Dr Erasmus Darwin about inventions and experiments, 1 September 1794: "...Mr Thomas Wedgwood wrote to me about a scheme of stuffing feather-bed-covers with air instead of hair - he says feathers always stink & wishes to rest on clouds like the Gods and Goddesses which you see sprawling on ceilings. Now could not (seriously) a pillow by made of leather imbued with a solution of elastic gum? - so as not to smell like oil & to hold air, either atmospheric or carbonate? Thus one might carry ones bed about & blow it up at night, - or blow yourself up as you lye on it, like the philosoph: bellows. ...When matter is formed, as suppose between the muscles of any limb, no hectic fever is produced, tho' the abscess may contain a pint - now if this abscess is opened by a knife so as to admit the air to the surface of the wound, the hectic fever comes on in a few hours! This I suppose to be owing to the pus attracting oxygene, as the blood does; and that this oxygene (if the matter be ever absorbed, which is not certain) may produce fever by its stimulus. Hence carbonate hydrogen might be of great service (perhaps) applied to some wounds, and hydrogene to tendencies to gangrene, which might be done by tying a bladder round the ulcer or over it, blowing air under". (1 document)


JWP C1/16 1794 Letter from Thomas Henry, concerning Watt's pneumatic medical apparatus, 28 December 1794. (1 document)


JWP 4/65 1794-1795 Letters from various medical correspondents, including Erasmus Darwin, Thomas Beddoes, Dr Thornton, Dr Percival, James Lind, Dr Hutton, Robert Mylne and Sir Joseph Banks, mostly about the medical uses of gases. Includes draft letters from Watt to Dr Percival: "Knowing the insufficiency of theory and the incompetence of the human mind to embrace every circumstance of a complicated subject of any kind, I am a great friend to experiment. Even in the simple science of mechanics, I cannot trust to theory, much less in the obscure paths of physiology; let us therefore try our theories by experiment, when one thing does not do, let us try another, until we come to the most apposite, and let the dose and manner of exposition be raised as much as they permit. But all this will avail nothing, without it be done under the direction of experienced physicians..." and to Sir Joseph Banks: "Mankind have been long enough occasionally poisoned by the channel of the lungs, let us try if we cannot receive medicines by the same way...". A letter from Darwin "If you have any japanned airholders ready made I should be glad of one, as I think it a convenient machine to measure airs with - or indeed to breathe them from" has a drawing of an airholder linked to a bladder linked to the appalled face of a patient! (35 documents)


JWP 4/23 1794-1796 Letters from doctors (and a few from patients) including Erasmus Darwin, Thomas Beddoes, Dr Ewart, and Dr Thornton, mostly concerning the use of oxygen as a pneumatic medicine and the illness of his daughter, Jessy Watt. Darwin writes in 1795: "My daughter Emma is better, but has not taken the oxygen so regularly as she ought to have done, owing in part to my absence from home; but I intend to manage it better... She also takes 2 grains of opium a day, so that the oxygene gas is but a part of the process... Now I grow old, and not so well amused in common society, I think writing books an amusement, I wish you would write books, instead of having those confounded headachs, which you complain of!" (45 documents)


JWP C1/25 1795 Letter from Dr Erasmus Darwin about his experiments to cure lung disorders, 9 July 1795, but also sympathising with him about the difficult progress of Watt's patent litigation: "...A lawsuit that pays well to the lawyers goes on like a snail creeping up a pole, which slips down again every 2 to 3 inches, as he advances, until he has beslimed the pole all over." (1 document)


JWP C1/10 1785 Letter from Josiah Wedgwood, mentioning a visit to Sir Richard Arkwright, 17 September 1785: "...I have visited Mr Arkwright several times and find him much more conversible than I expected, and he invites me to come and see him as often as I can, though he at present shuns all company as much as possible because it robs him of his time and breaks in upon his plans. And besides, he says he is no company for them, for whilst they are talking to him upon one subject he is thinking upon another, and does not know what they say to him. He is much affected by the ill-usage he receiv'd at the last trial ... and I believe means to prosecute some of the evidences for perjury... I told him you were considering the subject of patents, and you two genius's may probably strike out some new lights together which neither of you might think of separately." (1 document)


JWP C1/42 1796 Letter to Dr Joseph Black sending a small pneumatic apparatus, and about his experiments in medical chemistry, 1 June 1796. This letter was published in Robinson & McKie, Partners in Science, 1970. It must come originally from one of the bundles returned by Black's executors; [see JWP 4/12, Part 1, Reel 13 and JWP 4/44, Part 1, Reel 16]. (1 document)


JWP 6/34 1796 Letters from various correspondents, including Sir John Sinclair, J Roebuck junior, A Anderson, Robert Muirhead, Sir John Dalrymple, Ambrose Weston (suggesting sending a copying machine as a gift to the retired barrister, Mr Baldwin, who will 'spy for us among the great luminaries of government'), Richard Phillips, Peter Ewart, Samuel Galton junior, J Monteith, Robertson Buchanan and H Goodwyn. (33 documents)


JWP 4/34 1796-1797 Letters from his son, James Watt junior, and James Miller. The letters from Watt junior cover the period when the Soho Foundry was under construction and James Watt was (as usual) depressed about the financial implications: "I...cannot express how much I am mortified at seeing you write in such low spirits. I wish Mr Boulton had been otherwise employed than in drawing such a picture which [is] by no means a fair because it is not a full representation of the state of our concerns. We have paid everything that is due either from B.W. & Sons, or from the foundry, and we now have upwards of £2000 in Mrs Matthews hands, which will be increased by at least £2000 more in the course of the present month... The great Drafts that have lately been made upon Mrs Matthews were not so much for the foundry as for the current business of BW & Sons, the magnitude of which demands occasionally large Drafts, but I am sure I need not here be at the pains of demonstrating that it will amply repay them... Is not [the capital] well laid out, in establishing our business upon an independent, an extensive, and a permanent footing, which ensures us facility, dispatch, and pleasure in the execution of our business, instead of carrying it on in that constant state of trouble, anxiety, hurry and dependance which has been the case for the last two years?" (36 documents).

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JWP W/9 1796-1798 Bundle of letters from various correspondents labelled 'Doctors 1796-98'. Correspondents include Thomas Beddoes (25 letters, including some about building a scientific theatre in Bristol), Erasmus Darwin: "I have received a most severe pang from hearing both from Mrs Galton and Mr Keir of your second great misfortune in the loss of your daughter at Glasgow. Life is a forced state! I am surprized that we live, rather than that our friends die... What is there in the world to excite men of the age, at which you and myself are arrived at, to make us wish to continue in it?... Activity of mind is the only circumstance which can prevent one thinking over disagreeable events, which already exist, or are likely soon to exist... Activity does not always produce pleasure, but I think it always prevents or lessens present pain; it is therefore perhaps the only resource which a philosopher can fly to in the hour of affliction...", Dr Pearson (about Darwin's Zoonomia), Thomas Creaser, Dr Cleghorn, Miles Partington, T Cavallo, T Seward, R Udney, James Lind. (53 documents)


JWP 4/42 1796-1801 Letters from Robert and Gilbert Hamilton, conveying family news. (46 documents)


JWP C1/37 1797 Letter from Frederick Accum, asking Watt to subscribe to a scientific book, 20 January 1797. (1 document)


JWP C1/23 1797 Letter from Dr Thomas Garnett, suggesting that he should hold some philosophical lectures in Birmingham, with printed proposals for the lectures on the back, 24 July 1797. (1 document)


JWP 6/30 1797-1798 Letters from various correspondents, including B Roebuck (about rubber), Sir Joseph Banks (regarding Lisbon lamp glass), Robert Mylne, Sir John Dalrymple (re waterproof cloth), Robert Muirhead, James Keir, Dr Patrick Wilson, T Williams, T Barnes, Ambrose Weston, J Roebuck jnr, Samuel Galton jnr, Josiah Wedgwood II (regarding destruction of smoke) and J P Dearman. (26 documents)


JWP 4/29 1798 Letters from various correspondents, including Matthew Boulton (regarding Land Tax), Sir Joseph Banks (accepting a paper for Philosophical Transactions), John Roebuck jnr, John Rennie (regarding a map of the Clyde), William Stark (about an instrument of drawing perspective, with sketch), Robert Mylne, Patrick Wilson (printed prospectus for engraving on glass; copper engraving), Samuel Galton jnr, James Keir. (33 documents)


JWP 4/30 1798-1799 Letters from his son James Watt junior; topics mentioned include the death of Dr Withering, M R Boulton, Cornish interests. (21 documents)


JWP 6/35 1799 Letters from various correspondents, including Josiah Wedgwood II, Dr Thomas Beddoes, Dr G S Gibbes, Samuel Galton jnr, Ambrose Weston, Robert Mylne, Dr James Lind (regarding the outcome of the Hornblower case and patent locks), Tom Wedgwood: "I have just quitted Bath after having tried the Waters without any sensible benefit for five weeks, the setting in of the winter has renewed my sufferings, and I find I shall be obliged either to migrate to some warmer country or to shut myself up in a stoved room; I prefer the latter, and shall be exceedingly obliged to you for any information as to the best construction of a brick stove for a room about 15 feet square and 9 high; and also as the proper distance between double windows... I mean to supply the room with warm air to obviate the want of circulation which would ensue from using a stove alone; Beddoes proposes that I should supply it with warm oxygen; I shall probably continue in this room four or five months confining my excursions to a room or two in the house.", J Roebuck jnr, Matthew Boulton (urging Watt not to begin further actions over their patents following final success in the Hornblower case: "I think we should confine our contentions to the recovery of our debts, and in that be just, moderate and honourable, for sweet is the bread of contentment..."), Alexander Black, William Henry, Sir Joseph Banks (who had called together Cavendish and other eminent friends to see Mr Stephenson's toughened glass, which shattered), J Lawson, C L Berthollet and Thomas Wilson. (46 documents)

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JWP 6/24 1799-1800 Letters from various correspondents, including Josiah Wedgwood II: "...I am improving the house at Gunville by building offices to it, and altering the 3rd story from Garrets to Attics, and building stables. I hope to complete the whole before Christmas. I have not employed any architect or builder by contract, but a workman in the village who has just finished a very capital parsonage house remarkably well. I burn my own lime and fall my own timber, buying some however for beams. The old buildings I have pulled down have furnished nearly as much bricks, stone and flints as I want...", William Mitchell, Erasmus Darwin, A Lee, W Handy, A Weston, Professor Copeland, A Braine, J Lane, Dr Robertson, J Edwards, Matthew Boulton, John Scale, Comte de Thiville, R Young and W Stone. (37 documents)


JWP 6/43 1800-1801 Letters from his son, Gregory Watt, while touring Germany, Switzerland and France. (22 documents)


JWP 6/29 1800-1801 Letters from his son, James Watt junior, regarding personal and business matters, including the Hornblower case. (26 documents)


JWP C1/21 1801 Letter from Humphrey Davy, describing his experiments with electricity, 8 January 1801. (1 document)

Gregory Watt lodged with the Davys while attempting to improve his health in Cornwall, and his letter of recommendation to Dr Beddoes for their son Humphrey provided his first scientific employment.

JWP 6/33 1801 Letters from various correspondents, including Joseph Priestley (thanking Boulton and Watt for the gift of a furnace and pneumatic apparatus), C L Berthollett, Thomas Telford (regarding the London Bridge scheme), James Keir, John Rennie (regarding London Bridge), William Bedford, Professor Playfair, James Walkinshaw of Greenock, William Withering jnr, John Foulds, John Morris, J Lloyd, Humphrey Davy: "...I wish there was a specific known against erisipelas; not only for your sake but for the sake of other sufferers. It has been latterly a very common disease in this city [?Bristol]; & the modes of treatment are not [so] numerous as the physicians who employ them...", Dr Thomas Beddoes, Robert Livingstone of New York (sponsor of Fulton's experiments in steam navigation), Chevalier Landriani, Samuel Galton jnr, Robert Mylne, John Curtis, Ambrose Weston, Matthew Boulton and J Roebuck jnr. (70 documents)


JWP C2/12 1802 Letters, mostly between James Watt and his son Gregory, but also including letters from Dr Beddoes about Gregory's health, and letters from James Watt junior and J F Tuffen. (51 documents)

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JWP 4/27 1802-1803 Letters from various correspondents, mainly concerning James Watt's visit to France and Germany. Includes letters from Matthew Boulton (regarding his coining machine), William Sabatier, Sir William Beechey (regarding last payment for a portrait), Aimé Argand, Thomas Telford, (regarding the Caledonian Canal), William Withering jnr, Dr Thomas Beddoes, James Keir (regarding the death of Dr Darwin) and R W Darwin (about the same). (79 documents)


JWP 6/31 1803 Letters from his sons, James Watt junior and Gregory Watt, concerning family news, the bankruptcy of a chemist in Manchester, the Birmingham Volunteers, estate business, the disastrous explosion of Trevithick's engine at Greenwich and bankruptcies at Glasgow. (14 documents)


JWP 6/18 1803 Letters from various correspondents including William Withering jnr, William Irvine, Josiah Wedgwood II, Sir Joseph Banks (regarding Roebuck's memoir on gunpowder; see JWP 6/45, Part 2, Reel 38), Sir John Dalrymple, Samuel Galton jnr, Dr Thomas Beddoes (giving news of Richard Lovell Edgeworth and Gregory's health), Birmingham Canal Co., J Gemmill, General Androssi, W Seymour, E S Hutton, G de Trappe, W Wilkinson, Chevalier Landriani, Matthew Boulton, Samuel Garbett, J P Dearman, Mr Fullarton. (65 documents)


JWP 4/61 1803-1804 Letters from various correspondents about Watt's wish to be excused serving as sheriff of Staffordshire, and urging his ineligibility as a dissenter; also letters about Captain Hubbard's patent for a ropemaking machine. (29 documents)

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JWP 4/8 1804 Letters and bills from physicians concerning Gregory Watt's health, including letters from Dr Thomas Beddoes, and a retained copy letter from Watt to Beddoes. (36 documents)


JWP 4/45 1804 Letters from various correspondents, including Samuel Galton jnr, William Withering jnr, Sir Joseph Banks (regarding shrievalty), John Rennie (with a profile of seal), Dr Patrick Wilson, Ambrose Weston. (53 documents)


JWP 4/71 1804 Letters, mostly from James Watt junior, Matthew Boulton and John Woodward, in a bundle labelled "Firm". The letters concern business affairs; those from Woodward refer to mirrors and glasses. (64 documents)


JWP 4/6 1804 Letters from various Scottish correspondents, including Gilbert Hamilton, Robert Hamilton, Robert Muirhead, James Miller and N Wilson; mainly family and personal news. (27 documents)

This seems to be the earliest year in which Watt's letters have been arranged by category of correspondent, the usual division being Scottish letters, Firm (ie Boulton & Watt) letters, and Miscellaneous letters.

JWP 6/41 1804-1806 Letters to James Watt and James Watt junior, mostly concerning the death of Gregory Watt, including letters from Francis Jeffrey and Thomas Jackson, with an epitaph drafted by James Watt. (14 documents)

JWP 4/72 1805 Letters, mostly from James Watt junior and Matthew Boulton in a bundle labelled 'Firm', regarding business affairs. (36 documents)

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JWP 4/54 1805 Letters from various Scottish correspondents including Robert Muirhead, Henderson, J Playfair, J Robison jnr and Mrs Robison (both about the death of Robison snr). (35 documents)

JWP 6/20 1805-1806 Letters from various correspondents, including J Walkinshaw, G De Trappe, J A De Luc, H Sullis, Sir William Beechey, J F Tuffin, W Davies, Dr R W Darwin, Dr Beddoes, J Barr, J Houghton, W Pritchard, J Stuart, Lord Dundas, W Campbell, W Lawley, Dr Patrick Wilson, A Weston, W Wilkinson, Samuel Garbett, Samuel Galton jnr (regarding canal business), T Hutton, T Lee, William Irvine and John Rennie. (59 documents)


JWP C1/6 1806 Letter from Dr William Taylor, Principle of the College, Glasgow, conferring on Watt the degree of Doctor of Laws. (1 document)


JWP 4/85 1806-1807 Letters from various correspondents, including Dr Thomas Beddoes (8 letters): "Could not an artificial leech be made..." and "I do not know whether you have had the same alarm from mad dogs as we have. I do not think ours was false of excessive - I have seen several animals in a state of violent and fatal disease after the bite of a suspected dog ... In my opinion our medical police wants reformation. But I do not see on what grounds an order for the long confinements of dogs shall be given out and enforced...", Thomas Telford, John Rennie, William Withering jnr (7 letters), and Ambrose Weston (Watt's attorney): "Being employed to settle a Specification relating to a Chemical Discovery, I am unable, through my profound ignorance, to proceed a single step...Therefore I must call upon Hercules to help me - I say Hercules, because I presume it must have been by chemistry that he cleansed the Augean Stable, for I cannot suppose so great a Hero was employed in the ungentlemanly process of removing Dung by a Pitchfork". (105 documents)

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JWP C6/6 1806-1808 Letters from various Scottish correspondents, including Robert Muirhead, Professor John Young, James Reddie, Gilbert Hamilton, Robert Hamilton, James Miller and Professor Mylne. (92 documents)


JWP 4/86 1808-1809 Letters from various correspondents, including William Murdock, William Bullock, John Rennie (regarding Northfleet Dockyard) and Penry Price (offering to sell Watt his remaining land in Brecknock and Radnorshire). (121 documents)


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JWP 6/51 1809 Letter from William Maclure of Philadelphia, regarding the minerals of the United States.
(1 document)


JWP C6/7 1809-1812 Letters from various Scottish correspondents, including Robert Muirhead, James Miller, Robert and Gilbert Hamilton, Archibald Hamilton, Dr T Brown, Margaret Miller, concerning financial, family and local news. Also includes Professor George Jardine about a prize essay and Hunterian stove, Professor Mickleham about the Hunterian heating, and letters regarding the Sir John Moore monument.
(117 documents)


JWP C6/1 1810-1811 Letters from various correspondents including Ambrose Weston, Samuel Galton jnr, Robert Muirhead, R L Edgeworth (regarding scheme for a cast iron tunnel across the Menai Straits: "My scheme is to join the parts of my fourteen foot cast iron cylinder in one curve in a dry dock opening into the Menai - when the joints were sufficiently secured the whole, let the length be what it might, would float, when both its mouths were above water. When properly ballasted I would open the gates of the Dock, tow the tunnel into the river near the junction of the opposing tides and sink it upon a bed, previously constructed by large stones thrown into the water so as to form two walls 16 feet a sunder filled with sand thrown between them..."), Cadell & Davies (wanting material for 'short biographical notes'), Maria Edgeworth (describing the church spire her father had constructed: "... If you should see a puffing paragraph in the newspapers about my father's spire 'challenging the three kingdoms and all Ireland to equal such and invention' I trust you will believe that we have too much commonsense and a little too good taste to have, in the language of this county, any art or part in the said preposterous paragraph") G Bullock, Sir Thomas Lawrence, C L Berthollet, Professor Jardine. (103 documents)

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JWP C6/2 1812-1813 Letters from miscellaneous correspondents including James Lawson, Sir Thomas Lawrence, James Weston, Sir Joseph Banks, John Rennie, George Fox, Richard Lovell Edgeworth: "I have always thought that steam would become the universal lord and that we should in time scorn post horses. An iron railroad would be a cheaper thing than a road on the common construction... I do not know how your steam engine acts against the water; the common method is to employ circulating oars or paddles. An ingenious workman in my neighbourhood constructed a reacting pump to force the boat forward as in the manner of Barker's Mill. It acts well and he proposed it for a steam boat: but here nobody would listen to him...", Joseph Townsend, J F Tuffen. (133 documents)


JWP C6/8 1813-1817 Letters from various Scottish correspondents. (154 documents)

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JWP C6/3 1814-1815 Letters from miscellaneous correspondents including J Chantrey, Dr Swediaur of Paris: "I hope I shall now from time to time get news of my friends in England, which we have been deprived of these last years, it being reckoned nearly criminal to keep on any correspondence, however innocent, with England. Our new masters are milder, but I am afraid will not go on upon any better principles; what is given with one hand is taken away with the other, as you will plainly see with regard to the liberty of the press; this principle being the only firm foundation for good and reasonable government, & now being withdrawn, or modified as they say here for two years, or as I believe for an indefinite number of years. We have no claim on individual liberty, not any guarantee against the most aggressive taxes or any other exertion of tyranny, because you have no right to complain..." G H Turner: "Very late last night, I learnt the Emperor of Russia is to be at our Rope Manufactory this morning Saturday; and if you and Mrs Watt can get so far, I shall be most glad to see you...", Sir Joseph Banks, Dr David Brewster (regarding the publication of Watt's corrections to Robison's book on steam). (129 documents)

JWP 6/53 1815-1819 Letters from John Murray setting out his agreement to publish Robison's essay on steam with Watt's corrections, and from John Murdock about his father's steam carriage. Also, an inventory of Mrs Watt's estate papers. (3 documents)


JWP C6/4 1816-1817 Letters from miscellaneous correspondents including Dr David Brewster, John Rennie, Frankland Lewis MP and many others. (138 documents)

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JWP C6/5 1818-1819 Letters from various correspondents. (105 documents)


JWP C6/9 1818-1819 Letters from various Scottish correspondents. (77 documents)


JWP C6/10 1819-1820 Letters, notes and some printed items and extracts containing biographical material about James Watt, including letters from Sir William Playfair, John Rennie, Maria Edgeworth, Dr Brewster, Mrs Sophia Lee, and correspondence with Macvey Napier and Francis Jeffrey regarding a biographical memoir of Watt for a supplement to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, to be written by Watt junior who insists on anonymity. (1 bundle)

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James Watt, 1736-1819 Diaries, account books, memoranda books etc

JWP 3/21 1757-1764 Accounts of household and personal expenses. Mostly personal accounts for clothing, journeys etc, but also some payments for his shop. (1 volume)


JWP W/14 (1765)-1814 Notebook describing Watt's experiments on copal varnish, latent heat etc. This is the octavo notebook of experiments published in full in Partners in Science, pp 425-489, with twelve plates including the famous kettle sketch. The manuscript dates mainly of 1783, the year that Watt repeated his experiments of 1765 on latent heat. The earlier experiments on copal varnish etc are described retrospectively, but the 1783 experiments on latent heat are recorded here as they were performed (with various revisions, pasted cancels, etc); this is the only original laboratory notebook in the collection. The full range of dates mentioned is 1765-1814, but the earlier dates are retrospective, and 1814 refers to two leaves pasted in after f.45; most of the manuscript must date from c1783. (1 volume)


JWP 4/55 1773-1775 Sundry accounts and receipts. (20 documents)

The series of volumes described below covers the years 1776-1785. It is worth noting that earlier ones, 1768-1774, and later ones, 1786-1787, are in the Boulton & Watt Collection (Please see Muirhead I material already filmed by Adam Matthew Publications in Series One of this microfilm project; see especially Reels 17 and 18 of Series One: B&W MI/1/14-21, MI/2/17). Although these notebooks form a single chronological series, they are of two distinct types; the printed pocket diaries which are basically appointment books, and the small octavo journals containing extended notes. It may be that Watt at least at some periods kept one of each for each year. The journals are especially valuable as one of the few sources of information about the date of Lunar Society meetings.

JWP C3/1 1776 This comprises Cumming's Gentleman's Useful Memorandum Book for 1775, used by James Watt as a diary and account book in 1776. Includes appointments, a few memoranda (July: "was married to Miss A McG."), and a few notes of expenditure. Lightly used, but used throughout. (1 volume)


JWP C3/2 1777 The New Daily Journal or Complete Account Book, used by James Watt as a diary and account book. Includes appointments and a few notes of expenditure. (1 volume)


JWP C3/3 1778 Small manuscript journal including details of engines etc. (1 volume)


JWP C3/4 1779 Small octavo journal, 4 January-2 July 1779. Mentions Perrier and Paris water supply; drawings for Poldice steam pipe; records drawings made and letters written; his health; visitors (Wilkinson, Darwin etc) at Soho; report on leaks in engine and how repaired; experiments with copying machine. (1 volume)


JWP C3/5 1779-1780 Small octavo journal, 4 July 1779-1 May 1780. Similar to the previous journal, it records visits to Poldice, Tingtang, Truro; letter to Dr Black etc. (1 volume)


JWP C3/6 1780-1785 Diary. Small octavo volume, with irregular entries, including a trip to London and to the engine at Hawkesbury Colliery. (1 volume)


JWP C3/10 1782-1812 Commonplace book. A thick folio notebook bound in vellum, containing notes from printed books, eg on experiments by Lavoisier and de la Place, also Watt's account of his own experiments on heat, and on experiments by Priestley. (1 volume)


JWP C3/7 1783 The Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire complete pocket companion and annual account book, used by James Watt as a diary and account book. Includes appointments and a few note of expenditure. (1 volume)


JWP C3/8 1784 The complete pocket-book or gentleman's and tradesman's daily journal, used by James Watt as a diary and account book. Includes appointments and a few notes of expenditure. (1 volume)


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JWP C3/9 1785 The complete pocket-book or gentleman's and tradesman's daily journal, used by James Watt as a diary and account book. Includes appointments and a few notes of expenditure. (1 volume)


JWP 3/56 1786-1787 Account Book for James Watt's expenses during a business trip to Paris with Matthew Boulton, November 1786-January 1787. (1 volume)


JWP 3/53 1806-1817 Bundle of miscellaneous receipts and letters. (1 bundle)

James Watt, 1736-1819 Business records: instrument making

JWP C4/B33 nd [c1775] Notes on 'dailing and making instruments'. (1 volume)


JWP C1/1 1759-1765 Account book as mathematical instrument maker at Glasgow. Includes an inventory of tools, goods etc, belonging to James Watt and John Craig, 1759. (1 volume)


JWP 3/41 1761-1770 Miscellaneous accounts, invoices and letters, most relating to mathematical and musical instruments, jewellery and general merchandise. (26 documents)


JWP 4/58 1763-1766 Miscellaneous accounts. (21 documents)


JWP 6/28 1763-1773 Miscellaneous letters and accounts for goods sold by James Watt, annotated with many notes such as 'never paid', 'bankrupt and lost' etc; also includes accounts regarding surveying work, London journeys etc. (102 documents)


JWP 4/46 1765-1769 Miscellaneous accounts, apparently for the instrument business. (33 documents)


JWP 3/40 1766 Miscellaneous accounts and papers concerning merchandise for the shop, including invoices from Startin & Moody of Birmingham and Christopher Stedman of London. (25 documents)


JWP C1/5 1767 Account with Messrs Startin & Moody of Birmingham for supply of scientific instruments to Watt, 26 September 1767. (1 document)

This early account from a Birmingham firm to Watt shows that he was in touch with Birmingham manufactures well before he met Boulton and had enlisted his aid in the development of the steam engine. Besides scientific instruments, he sold a variety of small Birmingham metal wares in his Glasgow shop.


JWP C1/9 1767 Account with John Wyke of Liverpool for supply of vices, cutting nippers etc, 5 December 1767. (1 document)

This account shows Watt in touch with Wyke, who was later to make engine counters for Boulton & Watt, in the years before he developed his engine; in fact Watt's journal shows the two men were in contact as early as 1760 (see Musson & Robinson, p. 437).

JWP C1/7 nd [c1770] A catalogue of philosophical, optical and mathematical instruments made and sold by Benjamin Martin with handwritten additions of sums of money under heading 'profits allowed'. (1 volume)

James Watt, 1736-1819 Business records: surveying

JWP C4/B27 nd [c1755] Notes on 'surveying of land'. (1 volume)

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JWP 3/23 1768 Printed report of John Golborne relative to the deepening of the river Clyde and the harbour of Port Glasgow, November 1768. (7 pages)


JWP 3/71 1770 Reports regarding the construction of canals, signed by Watt. (3 pages)


JWP 3/43 1770 Specification, reports, accounts and letters concerning the construction of piers, arches etc for Hamilton Bridge.(1 bundle)


JWP 3/39 1770-1773 Papers concerning Ayr harbour, canal and road construction. (4 documents)


JWP 3/22 1772-1774 Report by James Watt for HM Commissioners for managing the annexed estates in Scotland concerning the isthmuses of Tarbert and Crinan, with a scheme for rendering navigable the Rivers Forth and Devon, with estimates. (95 pages)


JWP 3/45 1773 Surveying of the rivers Forth and Devon by James Watt, including tables, estimates, and statements of Watt's expenses. with Lord Cathcart's notes and remarks on the report.
(1 volume)
JWP 3/69 1773-1774 Reports and surveys by James Watt on the construction of canals, with nice incidental details on the local economy etc. (1 volume)

JWP 3/57 1774 Extracts from the minutes of the committee for building Rutherglen Bridge. (3 documents)

James Watt, 1736-1819 Business records: steam engines

JWP JW/1 1698-1784 Copy specifications of various inventions from that granted to Thomas Savery in 1698 to that granted to Robert Cameron in 1784, compiled no doubt in relation to one of Watt's patent applications. (1 volume)


JWP 4/52 1766 Papers and drawings concerning the Carron Company fire engine. (10 documents)


JWP 3/19 1767-1796 Volume of miscellaneous collections relating to James Watt's steam engine and patents. Includes printed acts concerning patent law; Watt's patents and other for engraving, cement etc; Mr Weston's memorial concerning patents, 1785; a printed copy of the 1775 act, [1794]; a pamphlet entitled An account of James Watt's Improvement upon the steam or Fire Engine, nd; Mr Watt's specification of his Method of lessening the Consumption of Steam and Fuel in Fire Engines, nd [printed]; and a copy of the decision in Boulton v Bull. (1 volume)


JWP C1/35 1769 Note on the particulars of a steam wheel, with a small diagram. (1 document)

This invention is in essence a steam turbine, and therefor of great interest to the historian of steam power. John Wilkinson, the iron founder, was asked to make such a wheel, but the practical difficulties of execution obliged Boulton and Watt to concentrate their energies upon their improvements to the Newcomen engine.

JWP G/2 1776-1794 Volume containing various Acts of Parliament relating to the inventions of manufacturers, including the 1794 printing of Watt's 1774 patent, and others regarding ship rigging, cement etc. (1 volume)


JWP 3/1 1781-1784 Manuscript copies of Mr Watt's specifications of his inventions of several mechanical improvements to the steam engine. [These are the patent specifications of the 1781, 1782 and 1784 patents.] (1 volume)


JWP C1/43 1781-1786 Folder of drawings regarding specifications. Uncoloured drafts for some of the patent specifications. (1 folder)


JWP G/14 1781-1782 Original patent granted to James Watt for improvements to the steam engine, February 1782, (known as the 1781 patent, because the application was filed in that year) with original specifications and drawings signed by Watt. (1 document)


JWP G/12 1782 Original patent granted to James Watt for improvements to the steam engine. The patent was granted 12 March and specification supplied 3 July. Signed by Watt and endorsed with a note of enrollment. (1 document)


JWP 4/1 (1782) Printed copy of the specification for the 1782 patent, printed in 1798. (1 document)


JWP 4/5 1783 Draft of case for counsel in Boulton & Watt v Hornblower. This would appear to relate to an action that was not proceeded with; it is thirteen years earlier than proceedings which were finally brought against Hornblower for breach of the Boulton & Watt patents. (1 volume)


JWP G/13 1784 Original patent granted to James Watt for new improvements to fire and steam engines, with the specification drawings signed by Watt, patent stamps etc. (1 document)


JWP 3/32 1784-1787 Papers relating to James Watt's specification, including a copy of the 1782 specification, several drafts of the 1784 specification; draft specification for the furnace patent of 1785. (1 bundle)

REEL 35
JWP G/15 1785 Copies of the specifications for Watt's patents from 1775-1785, with the related drawings; also a transcript of the proceedings of the parliamentary committee for the patent extension, 1775, and patent for a smokeless furnace. (1 volume)


JWP G/1 nd [c1786] Drawings on parchment of sections of the new steam engine, labelled 'Drawing of Irish specifications'. (1 document)


JWP 3/35 nd Remarks on Mr Watt's specifications of his steam engine, with corrections; there is also material on the Bull Trial (1793/4 ?). (1 document)


JWP 3/20 1786-1794 Extract from letters concerning Boulton & Watt's steam engine, concerns in the county of Cornwall, and memoranda relating to the same subject. (83 pages)


JWP W/2 1788 Directions for erecting and working the newly invented steam engines, Boulton & Watt; with Additional Directions..., undated, with plates numbered X-XV and extensive annotations and corrections to adapt them to a particular unspecified engine in 1788, although the note on the wrapper 'With Mr Poli's drawings, 3-6-88' may provide a clue. (2 documents)


JWP C4/D31 1793-1795 Record of results of experiments with the Boulton & Watt engine at Salford cotton mill between December 1793 and December 1795. (1 document)


JWP 4/78 1808-1809 Papers concerning the 'Olynthian controversy'. Prompted by J Hornblower's history of steam in Olinthus Gregory's Mechanics, including a letter from Watt to Watt junior referring to the blowing valve, parallel motion, and expansive working [published in James Watt and the Steam Revolution], and a paper concerning the rival claim of Gainsborough to invention of the separate condenser. (1 bundle)

James Watt, 1736-1819 The steam engine patent extension, 1775

JWP C1/3 nd [c1774] Drawing on parchment of the Double Engine, produced to the Committee of the House of Commons in 1774-1775, also drawing of steam wheel. (1 document)


JWP 4/53 1775 Copy of minutes of a meeting of the Committee on Recommitment of Mr Watt's Engine Bill, 1775. (1 volume)


JWP C1/4 1775 Drawing of engine laid before Parliament in April 1775. (1 document)

James Watt, 1736-1819 Boulton v Bull

JWP G/6 1769-1794 Book no 1, Boulton v Bull; Mr Watt's act of 1774 (1794 printing), specifications of 1782 and 1784 and papers relating thereto. (1 volume)


JWP 3/6 (1781) Book no 2, Boulton v Bull; folding drawings of specifications for the 1781 patent bound into a folder. These drawings from the Bull case are reproduced in colour in Robinson & Musson, James Watt and the Steam Revolution. (1 volume)


JWP 3/4 (1782) Book no 3, Boulton v Bull; folding drawings of specifications for the 1781 patent bound into a folder. These drawings from the Bull case are reproduced in colour in Robinson & Musson, James Watt and the Steam Revolution. (1 volume)


JWP 3/5 (1784) Book no 4, Boulton v Bull; folding drawings of specifications for the 1781 patent bound into a folder. These drawings from the Bull case are reproduced in colour in Robinson & Musson, James Watt and the Steam Revolution. (1 volume)


JWP C4/C4 1798 Single sheet of observations [?by Watt] on Mr Weston's argument. (1 document)


JWP G/7 1792-1794 Book no 5, Boulton v Bull; specifications of steam engine. Includes 'list of patents for steam and fire engines which Boulton and Watt have searched for in the office'; précis of patents (probably related to the collection of patents in JWP 3/30, see below) with occasional comments such as 'piracy', 'this man was in the employ of B&W' etc. (1 volume)


JWP G/8 1792-1794 Book no 6, Boulton v Bull; miscellaneous specifications. A précis of the documents in JWP 3/28. (1 volume)


JWP 3/28 1792-1794 A bundle of specifications of patents collected for use in the case of Boulton & Watt v Bull, with a 'list of patents for new inventions selected with a view to the cause of Boulton & Bull' endorsed by A & J Weston. (1 bundle)


JWP 3/30 1792-1794 A bundle of specifications of patents collected for use in the case of Boulton & Watt v Bull, with a copy letter from James Watt junior to James Weston asking for further copies of patents, 1814, and a reply from Weston sending them. ( 1 bundle)

The two preceding bundles include many specifications for improvements in the steam engine, including Savory, 1798; J Wise, 1740; H Wood, 1769; W Blakely, 1766; J Stewart, 1767; J Hately, 1768; J Pickard, 1780; G Matthews, 1781; J Hornblower, 1781; R Cameron, 1784; T Mitchell, 1787; T Head, 1787; A Heslop, 1790; I Mainwaring, 1791; J W Rowe, 1792; T Mead, 1791.

JWP 4/25 nd[c1793] Boulton v Bull; a view of the objections which have been at various times urged against Mr Watt's specifications. Published by Robinson & Musson, James Watt and the Steam Revolution. (1 document)

JWP 4/26 1796 Boulton v Hornblower; answers by Mr Watt to objections made to his specifications, a clerk's copy. (1 document)


JWP 4/31 1796 Boulton v Hornblower; the holograph answers by Mr Watt to objections made to his specifications. (1 document)

REEL 36
JWP 3/14 1793 Boulton v Bull; copy of the shorthand writer's notes of the trial in the Court of Common Pleas, 22 June 1793. (1 volume)


JWP 4/73 nd [c1794] Papers relating to patents for use in Boulton v Bull, including a letter from A Weston, enclosing a paper on thermometers and a letter from Watt to Weston concerning the John Dolland case. (1 bundle)


JWP G/9 1794 Boulton v Bull; extracts made for Messrs Boulton & Watt for sundry patents for inventions. (1 volume)


JWP 3/7 1794 Boulton v Bull; copy from Mr Gurney's shorthand notes of the argument in the Court of Common Pleas, Mr Serjeant Watson's argument for the plaintiff, 1st argument, 27 June 1794. (1 document)


JWP 3/2 1794 Boulton v Bull; copy from Mr Gurney's shorthand notes of the argument in the Court of Common Pleas, Mr Serjeant Le Blanc's argument for the defence, 1st argument, 28 June 1794. (1 document)


JWP 3/11 1795 Boulton v Bull; copy from Mr Gurney's notes of the argument in the Court of Common Pleas, Mr Serjeant Adair's argument for the plaintiffs, 2nd argument, 31 January 1795. (1 document)


JWP 3/12 1795 Boulton v Bull; copy from Mr Gurney's shorthand notes of Mr Serjeant William's argument for the defence and Adair's reply, 2nd argument, 3 February 1795. (1 document)


JWP 3/3 1795 Boulton v Bull; copy of Mr Gurney's notes of the arguments of the judges in the Court of Common Pleas, 16 May 1795. This copy of the judges' arguments has some manuscript corrections, and was perhaps used for the publication The arguments of the Judges in two causes relating to the letters patent granted to James Watt, of which a copy is in JWP 3/66. (1 document)


JWP C4/C5 nd[c1795] Appendix to the arguments of the judges in Boulton v Bull. (1 document)


JWP 3/66 1799 The arguments of the Judges in two causes relating to the letters patent granted to James Watt, London, 1799. Enclosed in a wrapper sending the pamphlet from James Watt junior to M Arago in October 1834. (1 document)

James Watt, 1736-1819 Boulton & Watt v Hornblower and Maberly

JWP 6/42 1769-1798 Papers regarding patents used in the Hornblower case, including notes by James Watt on improvements to the steam engine and a copy of the solicitor's bill for getting the 1775 Act through Parliament. (1 bundle)


JWP 4/69 1775-1799 Papers regarding Cornish mines and James Watt's steam engine patent. Mainly concerning the 1775 patent extension and the Hornblower case; about 20 manuscript and 13 printed briefs, including a memorandum of profits and 'Points to be known by a steam engineer', both printed in James Watt and the Steam Revolution. Also includes general papers about patent disputes, 1792-1799. (1 bundle)


JWP G/20 1794-1799 Particulars respecting Messrs Boulton & Watt's connections with sundry mines in the County of Cornwall, with list of adventurers' names etc., compiled in connection with the case against Hornblower. (1 volume)

REEL 37
JWP 4/38 1795-1796 Letters and testimonials concerning the originality of James Watt's improvements to the steam engine by Dr John Roebuck and others, used in the case against Hornblower and Maberly. (1 bundle)


JWP 3/36 1796 Boulton v Hornblower; Professor Robison's narrative of Mr Watt's invention of the improved engine. (1 document) [Printed in Robinson & Musson, James Watt and the Steam Revolution. Written for the Hornblower case this is a vital document in the history of steam; an independent description of Watt's early work and the invention of the separate condenser by one of the first men in whom Watt confided.]


JWP 3/29 1796 Boulton v Hornblower; briefs from the plaintiffs in the Common Pleas and in Chancery, prepared by A J & G Weston, solicitors, and endorsed with the barristers fees.
(1 bundle)


JWP 3/9 1796 Boulton v Hornblower; copy of Mr Gurney's shorthand notes of the trial, part 1: plaintiff's case and evidence, 16 December 1796. (1 document)


JWP 3/10 1796 Boulton v Hornblower; copy of Mr Gurney's shorthand notes of the trial, part 2: defence case and evidence. (1 document)


JWP 3/13 1797 Boulton v Hornblower; copy of the shorthand writer's notes of what passed in the Court of Common Pleas in Hilary Term 1791 in relation to the defence's motion for a new trial, 11-13 February 1797. (1 document)


JWP 3/31 1797 Boulton v Hornblower; papers about the alleged insufficiency of the patent, and why there should not be a new trial. (1 bundle)


JWP 3/27 1797 Printed Letter to the Rt Hon Sir James Eyre, Justice of the Common Pleas on the subject of the cause, Boulton & Watt v Hornblower & Maberly, printed for John Stockdale. By Joseph Bramah, witness for the defence in the Hornblower case, contesting the validity of B&W's patent, and claiming he has built engines with cooling applied to the eduction pipe only. In the margin a manuscript note "Piracy complete and a full proof of our case". (1 document)


JWP 3/15 1798 Hornblower v Boulton; observations by way of materials for the second argument. (1 volume)


JWP 3/16 1799 Hornblower v Boulton; argument in the King's Bench of Serjeant Le Blanc and judgement of the Court, 25 January 1799. (1 volume)

James Watt, 1736-1819 Business records: copying machine

JWP C1/39 1780 Parchment patent for the copying machine, with an illustration. (1 document)

This machine was a most important contribution by Watt to commercial practice, since before its invention if a copy had to be taken of a letter it had to be done by hand. Watt's machine was quickly put to use (the earliest press-copies in the archive date from 1779), and it remained the most important method of copying letters until the advent of the typewriter in the late 19th century. The principle was that a letter was written in the normal way and then sheets of thin unsized paper were placed in a wetted condition on top of the original document. These sheets and the letter were then passed through a roller which exerted an even pressure so that the ink from the letter is absorbed by the sheets. The copy letter was then read on the reverse side of the sheets. One of the great difficulties facing Watt and his partners was devising a really reliable ink that would penetrate the unsized copy paper at an appropriate and predictable rate.

James Watt, 1736-1819 Miscellaneous papers

JWP 3/64 nd [c1765] Plan of the Duke of Bridgewater's curious weir at Castle Field near Manchester. (1 document)


JWP W/1 1769-1802 Volume of letters to Dr James Lind from Professor Alexander Wilson and his son, Dr Patrick Wilson concerning printing and astronomy matters, including Herschel, a comet, a thermometer, and attempts to interest Mr Watts, printer to the University of Cambridge, in placing an order with Glasgow Letter Foundry. (1 volume of 22 letters)


JWP C1/19 nd [c1770] A print of globes with prices for globes and other scientific instruments written on the back. (1 document)


JWP C4/B37 nd [c1820] Notebook, mostly unused, but containing some pencil entries and remarks on arsenic etc. (1 volume)


JWP 4/77 1771-1795 Miscellaneous papers including an estimate for constructing a wooden lock. (9 documents)


JWP JW/6 1776 [J Smith] A plan and description of Mr John Stewart's Fire Engine Mill, London, [6], xxviii, 54, plus two plates. Complete copy, plan slightly defective. (1 volume)

REEL 38
JWP 4/74 1777-1814 Miscellaneous papers regarding engines and M Argand's patent for a lamp, including a list of rotative engines. (5 documents)


JWP C1/41 1782 A catalogue of the philosophical books belonging to Dr Priestley. A most important list, since Priestley's library was destroyed in the Birmingham riots of 1791. Watt mentions this list in a draft of a letter to Priestley (please see JWP W/13, Part 1, Reel 20), but omitted it from the final version (see JWP LB/2, Part 1, Reel 7) either because he could not find it or because he feared it would distress Priestley to be reminded of his loss. This list was used to reconstruct the library for the Lunar exhibition in 1966, and was itself exhibited. (1 document)


JWP C4/C7 1785 Printed pamphlet in a plain cover, entitled in manuscript, 'Southern on aerostation'. (1 volume)


JWP 3/67 nd [c1788] Volume [attributed to Charles Clagget] describing a pattern for improving the finger boards of violins and other instruments, with comments by James Watt. (1 volume)


JWP C4/C18B 1791 Inventory of furniture in each room of James Watt's house [presumably Heathfield Hall]. (1 volume)


JWP C4/C6 1794 Printed rules and regulations of the Engineers Society. (1 document)


JWP 3/50 1795 Plan and measurement of an unidentified house. (1 document)


JWP C1/30 1796 Prospectus of an essay on mechanical geometry by Benjamin Dorne, with a letter from Dr Thomas Beddoes about a patient "...too far gone but willing to try anything". (1 document)


JWP 6/50 1796 List of improvements to the steam engine not secured by patent. (1 document)


JWP 3/65 nd [c1800] Bundle of miscellaneous papers concerning patents and business matters. Includes directions for making preparatory surveys for the Russian Canals; remarks, suggestions and notes on shorthand writing; notes on Esperanto vocabulary; heads of a bill for explaining and amending the laws relative to patents; considerations on the means of securing the manufacturers of Great Britain for the dangers to which they are exposed in consequence of the present... taxation. (1 bundle)


JWP 6/45 1800-1805 Bundle of miscellaneous papers, including financial calculations; Dr Roebuck's memoir on gunpowder, 1803; printed papers regarding canals etc, and ' Some observations upon the Subject of Patents'. (1 bundle).


JWP C4/D22 c1800-1810 Plans of Watt's east Radnorshire estates, including three plans of Kinnerton, with a list of holdings two plans of Stonehouse, two of Llanakiddy, one of Upper Hergest and one of Yr Aber. (1 bundle)


JWP C4/D20 1801 Papers concerning Telford's design for rebuilding London Bridge, including engraved drawings of the proposed design with a 600ft single span; list of questions addressed to Watt by Charles Abbot, chairman of the Committee for the Improvement of the Port of London, with a copy resolution of the committee; letters between Telford and Watt about the bridge design, pencil sketches by Telford of bridge designs and rough draft of Watt's observations to the committee. (1 roll)


JWP 6/54 1802-1803 Bundle of specifications and estimates regarding the steam engines, including letters from Robert Fulton to James Watt junior about the advantages to Great Britain arising from steam engines, 1802; letters and calculations from John Southern about experiments on latent heat and strong steam, 1803; specification and estimate for building a new cow house at Heathfield, 1802. (1 bundle)
JWP G/10 1803 A survey and report of the coasts and central highlands of Scotland... in the autumn of 1802 by Thomas Telford. (1 document)


JWP 3/52 1808 Papers and plans concerning Mr [William] Strutt's stove, proposed for heating the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, with draft letter from Watt to James Mylne and reply, and a letter from Strutt to Watt. (1 bundle)


JWP 3/54 1808 As per JWP 3/52 above. (1bundle)


JWP C4/D29 1808 Plans and drawings concerning Watt's proposals for revising the heating system of the Hunterian Museum. (7 documents)


JWP C4/D27 1809 Designs by George Bullock for two bowls, male and female classical figures, an ornate clock, and a harp. (4 documents)


JWP C4/D21 1810 Survey of a proposed branch of the Birmingham Canal in the parish of Aston, by John Snape. (1 roll)


JWP 3/59 1812 Copy of petition to Parliament from Samuel Compton regarding his invention for spinning cotton. (1 document)


JWP W/4 1812 Instructions for preparing and using Barton's patent hydrostatic floating lamp. (1 document)


JWP 6/26 1812-1818 Miscellaneous drawings and tracings including lathe drawings, 'movable puppet' [a trussed frame to carry the lathe], drill frame etc. (38 documents)


JWP JW/14 1814 Professor Robison's essays upon steam and the steam engine with Mr Watt's printed notes. These are the unbound sheets of Robison's book, based on articles in the Encyclopaedia Britannica; for correspondence about it with the publisher, John Murray (see JWP 6/53, Reel 30). (1 bundle)


JWP C4/D23 nd Print of Sir Thomas Lawrence's portrait of Watt. (1 document)


JWP C4/D30 nd Various prints of portraits of Watt, with miscellaneous photographs, 'Hints for engine drivers' etc. (1 bundle)

REEL 39

James Watt junior, 1769-1848 Press copy letters

JWP LB/7 1794-1804 Private letter book, uniform with his father's letter books. (1 volume)


JWP LB/8 nd [c1800] Private letter book, containing a 19 page letter to Mr Barnes regarding pyrites with illustration, and another, of 5 pages to the same, the rest of the volume is blank. (1 volume)


JWP 6/61 1804-1806 A bundle of press copies of letters. (191 documents)

REEL 40
JWP 6/62 1807-1808 A bundle of press copies of letters. (221 documents)


JWP 6/63 1808-1815 A bundle of press copies of letters. (298 documents)


JWP 6/64 1815-1816 A bundle of press copies of letters. (176 documents)


JWP 6/65 1809-1817 A bundle of press copies of letters, 1809, 1816-1817; nearly all addressed to Mr Mosley, London agent. (42 documents)

James Watt junior, 1769-1848 Personal correspondence

JWP 6/55 1788-1789 Letters in French and German from various correspondents including J H Pott and C L Berthollet, with translations. Topics discussed include dyeing (Mr Taylor's turkey-red process), process for making sal ammoniac, tin etc. Also includes Boulton's assignment to James Watt of his 'Tyburn ticket', 1789. (5 documents)


JWP C2/10 1800-1804 Letters from his brother, Gregory Watt, giving details of his foreign travels. (25 documents)


JWP C1/24 1802 Letter from Robert Fulton in Paris, requesting information about the use of steam engines in navigation, with a small diagram. (1 document)

The manufacture of steam boat engines became one to the mainstays of Boulton & Watt's business in the 19th century, but the American inventor Robert Fulton was one of the first to interest himself in the steam propulsion of ships; he revolutionised inland waterways transport in the USA. In the 1780s Matthew Boulton had experimented with a small boat driven by a steam engine on Soho Pool, and even earlier in the 1760s there is the amazing suggestion in a letter from James Watt, accompanied by a sketch, that boats might be driven by a screw-propeller worked by steam power.

JWP 3/58 1808 Letter from James Watt junior to Professor Playfair listing papers left with the latter. (1 document)


JWP 3/60 1809 Letter from G A Lee of Manchester about steam heat, January 1809. (1 document)


JWP 4/84 1819 Copy letters and news cuttings concerning the death of his father, James Watt, including letters (many of them addressed to Matthew Robinson Boulton) from John Rennie, S T Galton, Josiah Wedgwood jnr and a list of mourning rings. (1 bundle)

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