Matthew Boulton was an English manufacturer and business partner of Scottish engineer James Watt. In the final quarter of the 18th century, the partnership installed hundreds of Boulton & Watt steam engines, which were a great advance on the state of the art, making possible the mechanisation of factories and mills. Boulton applied modern techniques to the minting of coins, striking millions of pieces for Britain and other countries, supplying the Royal Mint with up-to-date equipment. Born in Birmingham, he was the son of a Birmingham manufacturer of small metal products who died when Boulton was 31. By Boulton had managed the business for several years, thereafter expanded it consolidating operations at the Soho Manufactory, built by him near Birmingham. At Soho, he adopted the latest techniques, branching into silver plate and other decorative arts, he became associated with James Watt when Watt's business partner, John Roebuck, was unable to pay a debt to Boulton, who accepted Roebuck's share of Watt's patent as settlement.
He successfully lobbied Parliament to extend Watt's patent for an additional 17 years, enabling the firm to market Watt's steam engine. The firm installed hundreds of Boulton & Watt steam engines in Britain and abroad in mines and in factories. Boulton was a key member of the Lunar Society, a group of Birmingham-area men prominent in the arts and theology. Members included Erasmus Darwin, Josiah Wedgwood and Joseph Priestley; the Society met each month near the full moon. Members of the Society have been given credit for developing concepts and techniques in science, manufacturing and transport that laid the groundwork for the Industrial Revolution. Boulton founded the Soho Mint, he sought to improve the poor state of Britain's coinage, after several years of effort obtained a contract in 1797 to produce the first British copper coinage in a quarter century. His "cartwheel" pieces were well-designed and difficult to counterfeit, included the first striking of the large copper British penny, which continued to be coined until decimalisation in 1971.
He retired in 1800, though continuing to run his mint, died in 1809. His image appears alongside his partner James Watt on the Bank of England's current Series F £50 note. Birmingham had long been a centre of the ironworking industry. In the early 18th century the town entered a period of expansion as iron working became easier and cheaper with the transition from charcoal to coke as a means of smelting iron. Scarcity of wood in deforested England and discoveries of large quantities of coal in Birmingham's county of Warwickshire and the adjacent county of Staffordshire speeded the transition. Much of the iron was forged in small foundries near Birmingham in the Black Country, including nearby towns such as Smethwick and West Bromwich; the resultant thin iron sheets were transported to factories around Birmingham. With the town far from the sea and great rivers and with canals not yet built, metalworkers concentrated on producing small valuable pieces buttons and buckles. Frenchman Alexander Missen wrote that while he had seen excellent cane heads, snuff boxes and other metal objects in Milan, "the same can be had cheaper and better in Birmingham".
These small objects came to be known as "toys", their manufacturers as "toymakers". Boulton was a descendant of families from around Lichfield, his great-great-great-great grandfather, Rev. Zachary Babington, having been Chancellor of Lichfield. Boulton's father named Matthew and born in 1700, moved to Birmingham from Lichfield to serve an apprenticeship, in 1723 he married Christiana Piers; the elder Boulton was a toymaker with a small workshop specialising in buckles. Matthew Boulton was born in 1728, their third child and the second of that name, the first Matthew having died at the age of two in 1726; the elder Boulton's business prospered after young Matthew's birth, the family moved to the Snow Hill area of Birmingham a well-to-do neighbourhood of new houses. As the local grammar school was in disrepair Boulton was sent to an academy in Deritend, on the other side of Birmingham. At the age of 15 he left school, by 17 he had invented a technique for inlaying enamels in buckles that proved so popular that the buckles were exported to France reimported to Britain and billed as the latest French developments.
On 3 March 1749 Boulton married Mary Robinson, a distant cousin and the daughter of a successful mercer, wealthy in her own right. They lived with the bride's mother in Lichfield, moved to Birmingham, where the elder Matthew Boulton made his son a partner at the age of 21. Though the son signed business letters "from father and self", by the mid-1750s he was running the business; the elder Boulton retired in 1757 and died in 1759. The Boultons had three daughters in the early 1750s. Mary Boulton's health deteriorated, she died in August 1759. Not long after her death Boulton began to woo her sister Anne. Marriage with a deceased wife's sister was forbidden by ecclesiastical law, though permitted by common law. Nonetheless, they married on 25 June 1760 at Rotherhithe. Eric Delieb, who wrote a book on Boulton's silver, with a biographical sketch, suggests that the marriage celebrant, Rev. James Penfold, an impoverished curate, was bribed. Boulton advised another man, seeking to wed his late wife's sister: "I advise you to say nothing of your intentions but to go and snugly to Scotland or some obscure corner of London, suppose Wapping, there take lod
Birmingham Canal Navigations
Birmingham Canal Navigations is a network of canals connecting Birmingham and the eastern part of the Black Country. The BCN is connected to the rest of the English canal system at several junctions. At its working peak, the BCN contained about 160 miles of canals; the first canal to be built in the area was the Birmingham Canal, built from 1768 to 1772 under the supervision of James Brindley from the edge of Birmingham, with termini at Newhall Wharf and Paradise Wharf near to Gas Street Basin to meet the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal at Aldersley. The Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, from Birmingham to Tamworth, followed in 1784 with the Birmingham Canal Company merging with the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal Company to form what was called the Birmingham and Birmingham and Fazeley Canal Company; this cumbersome name was short-lived, the combined company became known as the Birmingham Canal Navigations from 1794, as the network was expanded. The BCN is built on each with its own reservoir.
453 feet O. D. the Birmingham Level. D. the Wolverhampton Level. D. the Walsall LevelThese levels are linked by locks at various places on the network. There are stretches on their own levels; the Titford Canal and its branches were built at 511 feet O. D. linked to the Titford Reservoir. A feeder supplies water to the Edgbaston Reservoir. A short section of the BCN Old Main Line, at Smethwick Summit, was built at 491 feet O. D.. Pumps at either end were built to pump water used by the locks back to the summit - one at Spon Lane locks, one at Smethwick locks: the Smethwick Engine; when the summit became too busy John Smeaton designed a scheme where it was lowered by 18 feet to the Wolverhampton level, eliminating six locks and providing a parallel set of locks at Smethwick which improved traffic throughput. It linked to the general Wolverhampton Level supply of water. BCN Main Line from Aldersley Junction to Gas Street Basin, using some of the Old Main Line canal. Old Main Line terminating in Birmingham at two wharfs now built upon: Old Wharf and Newhall Wharf.
New Main Line, a revised route for the Birmingham Canal, double towpathed progressing in straight lines using cuttings and tunnels. Bentley Canal Birmingham and Fazeley Canal Digbeth Branch Canal Bradley Locks Branch Dudley Canal Bumble Hole Branch Canal Dudley Canal Line No 1 Dudley Canal Line No 2 The Two Locks Line The Engine Arm Gower Branch Canal - linking the Birmingham and Wolverhampton levels, via three locks, at Tividale. Icknield Port Loop Netherton Tunnel Branch Canal Rushall Canal Soho Loop Spon Lane Locks Branch Titford Canal Tame Valley Canal Walsall Canal Anson Branch Walsall Branch Canal Wednesbury Oak Loop Wednesbury Old Canal - part of the original Wednesbury Canal Ridgacre Branch Wyrley and Essington Canal Anglesey Branch Birchills Branch Cannock Extension Canal Daw End Branch Canal Lord Hay's Branch Coventry Canal Grand Union Canal (connects at Salford Junction and Bordesley Junction Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal Stourbridge Canal Worcester and Birmingham Canal Chasewater Edgbaston Reservoir called Rotton Park Reservoir, itself fed from Titford Reservoir James Brindley Thomas Dadford John Smeaton Thomas Telford James Walker The BCN Society is a registered charity formed in 1968, which exists to conserve and encourage a wide range of interests in the BCN.
It publishes a quarterly journal. Boundary Post. From 1983, it erected signposts at most of the canal junctions on the BCN; the Smethwick Engine Transport in Birmingham Stourport Ring Broadbridge, S. R.. The Birmingham Canal Navigations, Vol. 1 1768 - 1846. David & Charles. ISBN 0-7509-2077-7. Foster, Richard. Birmingham New Street; the Story of a Great Station Including Curzon Street. 1 Beginnings. The Years up to 1860. Wild Swan Publications. ISBN 0-906867-78-9. Hadfield, Charles; the Canals of the West Midlands. David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-4660-1. Pearson, Micha
Walschaerts valve gear
The Walschaerts valve gear is a type of valve gear invented by Belgian railway mechanical engineer Egide Walschaerts in 1844 used to regulate the flow of steam to the pistons in steam engines. The gear is sometimes named without the final "s", since it was incorrectly patented under that name, it was extensively used in steam locomotives from the late 19th century until the end of the steam era. The Walschaerts valve gear was slow to gain popularity; the Stephenson valve gear remained the most used valve gear on 19th-century locomotives. However, the Walschaerts valve gear had the advantage that it could be mounted on the outside of the locomotives, leaving the space between the frames clear; the first locomotive fitted with the Walschaerts valve gear was built at the Belgian Tubize workshops, was awarded a gold medal at the 1873 Universal Exhibition in Vienna. In 1874 New Zealand Railways ordered two NZR B class locomotives, they were Double Fairlie locomotives, supplied by Avonside. They were Cape gauge.
The Mason Bogie, a modified Fairlie locomotive of 1874, was the first to use the Walschaerts gear in North America. The first application in Britain was on a Single Fairlie 0-4-4T, exhibited in Paris in 1878 and purchased by the Swindon and Andover Railway in March 1882. According to Ahrons, the locomotive saw little service as nobody seems to have known how to set the valves and this led to enormous coal consumption. In the 20th century, the Walschaerts valve gear was the most used type on larger locomotives. In Europe, its use was universal, whilst in North America, the Walschaerts gear outnumbered its closest competitor, the derived Baker valve gear, by a wide margin. In Germany and some neighbouring countries, like Poland and Czechoslovakia, the Walschaerts gear is named the Heusinger valve gear after Edmund Heusinger von Waldegg, who invented the mechanism independently in 1849. Heusinger's gear was closer to the form adopted, but most authorities accept Walschaerts' invention as sufficiently close to the final form.
The Walschaerts valve gear is an improvement on the earlier Stephenson valve gear in that it enables the driver to operate the steam engine in a continuous range of settings from maximum economy to maximum power. At any setting, the valve gear satisfies the following two conditions: The valve opens to admit steam to the cylinder just before the start of a piston stroke; the pressure of this steam provides the driving force. Soon before the space on one side of the piston starts to contract, the valve starts to release steam from that space to the atmosphere, so as not to impede the movement of the piston. In an economical setting, steam is admitted to the expanding space for only part of the stroke. Since the exhaust is shut, during the rest of the stroke the steam that has entered the cylinder expands in isolation, so its pressure decreases. Thus, the most energy available from the steam is used; the Walschaerts valve gear enables the engineer to change the cutoff point without changing the points at which intake starts.
Economy requires that the throttle be wide open and that the boiler pressure is at the maximum safe level to maximise thermal efficiency. For economy, a steam engine is used of a size such that the most economical settings yield the right amount of power most of the time, such as when a train is running at steady speed on level track; when greater power is necessary, e.g. when gaining speed when pulling out of a station and when ascending a gradient, the Walschaerts valve gear enables the engineer to set the cutoff point near the end of the stroke, so that the full pressure of the boiler is exerted on the piston for the entire stroke. With such a setting, when the exhaust opens, the steam in the cylinder is near full boiler pressure; the pressure in the steam at that moment serves no useful purpose. This sudden pulse of pressure causes the loud “choo” sound that members of the public associate with steam engines, because they encounter engines at stations, where efficiency is sacrificed as trains pull away.
A steam engine well adjusted for efficiency makes a soft “hhHHhh” sound that lasts throughout the exhaust stroke, with the sounds from the two cylinders overlapping to produce a nearly constant sound. The valve gear operation combines two motions; the secondary is the directional/amplitude motion, imparted at the top. Consider that the driver has adjusted the reversing lever such that the die block is at mid-gear. In this position the secondary motion is eliminated and the piston valve travel is shortest, giving minimal injection and exhaust of steam; the travel of the piston valve is twice the total of lap plus lead. Contrast this to when the die block is at the bottom of the expansion link, giving maximum steam injection and exhaust; this is used in accelerating forward from rest. Conversely when the die block is at the top of the expansion link, maximal power in reverse is obtained. Once the locomotive has accelerated the driver can adjust the reverser toward the mid-gear position, decreasing cut-off to give a more economical use of steam.
The engine's tractive e
The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the US, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power and water power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the mechanized factory system; the Industrial Revolution led to an unprecedented rise in the rate of population growth. Textiles were the dominant industry of the Industrial Revolution in terms of employment, value of output and capital invested; the textile industry was the first to use modern production methods. The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain, many of the technological innovations were of British origin. By the mid-18th century Britain was the world's leading commercial nation, controlling a global trading empire with colonies in North America and the Caribbean, with some political influence on the Indian subcontinent, through the activities of the East India Company.
The development of trade and the rise of business were major causes of the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution marks a major turning point in history. In particular, average income and population began to exhibit unprecedented sustained growth; some economists say that the major impact of the Industrial Revolution was that the standard of living for the general population began to increase for the first time in history, although others have said that it did not begin to meaningfully improve until the late 19th and 20th centuries. GDP per capita was broadly stable before the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of the modern capitalist economy, while the Industrial Revolution began an era of per-capita economic growth in capitalist economies. Economic historians are in agreement that the onset of the Industrial Revolution is the most important event in the history of humanity since the domestication of animals and plants. Although the structural change from agriculture to industry is associated with the Industrial Revolution, in the United Kingdom it was almost complete by 1760.
The precise start and end of the Industrial Revolution is still debated among historians, as is the pace of economic and social changes. Eric Hobsbawm held that the Industrial Revolution began in Britain in the 1780s and was not felt until the 1830s or 1840s, while T. S. Ashton held that it occurred between 1760 and 1830. Rapid industrialization first began in Britain, starting with mechanized spinning in the 1780s, with high rates of growth in steam power and iron production occurring after 1800. Mechanized textile production spread from Great Britain to continental Europe and the United States in the early 19th century, with important centres of textiles and coal emerging in Belgium and the United States and textiles in France. An economic recession occurred from the late 1830s to the early 1840s when the adoption of the original innovations of the Industrial Revolution, such as mechanized spinning and weaving and their markets matured. Innovations developed late in the period, such as the increasing adoption of locomotives and steamships, hot blast iron smelting and new technologies, such as the electrical telegraph introduced in the 1840s and 1850s, were not powerful enough to drive high rates of growth.
Rapid economic growth began to occur after 1870, springing from a new group of innovations in what has been called the Second Industrial Revolution. These new innovations included new steel making processes, mass-production, assembly lines, electrical grid systems, the large-scale manufacture of machine tools and the use of advanced machinery in steam-powered factories; the earliest recorded use of the term "Industrial Revolution" seems to have been in a letter from 6 July 1799 written by French envoy Louis-Guillaume Otto, announcing that France had entered the race to industrialise. In his 1976 book Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society, Raymond Williams states in the entry for "Industry": "The idea of a new social order based on major industrial change was clear in Southey and Owen, between 1811 and 1818, was implicit as early as Blake in the early 1790s and Wordsworth at the turn of the century." The term Industrial Revolution applied to technological change was becoming more common by the late 1830s, as in Jérôme-Adolphe Blanqui's description in 1837 of la révolution industrielle.
Friedrich Engels in The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 spoke of "an industrial revolution, a revolution which at the same time changed the whole of civil society". However, although Engels wrote in the 1840s, his book was not translated into English until the late 1800s, his expression did not enter everyday language until then. Credit for popularising the term may be given to Arnold Toynbee, whose 1881 lectures gave a detailed account of the term; some historians, such as John Clapham and Nicholas Crafts, have argued that the economic and social changes occurred and the term revolution is a misnomer. This is still a subject of debate among some historians; the commencement of the Industrial Revolution is linked to a small number of innovations, beginning in the second half of the 18th century. By the 1830s the following gains had been made in important technologies: Textiles – mechanised cotton spinning powered by steam or water increased the output of a worker by a factor of around 500.
The power loom increased the output of a worker by a factor of over 40. The cotton gin increased productivity of removing seed from cotton by a factor of 50. Large gains in productivity occurred in spinning and weaving of w
A factory or manufacturing plant is an industrial site consisting of buildings and machinery, or more a complex having several buildings, where workers manufacture goods or operate machines processing one product into another. Factories arose with the introduction of machinery during the Industrial Revolution when the capital and space requirements became too great for cottage industry or workshops. Early factories that contained small amounts of machinery, such as one or two spinning mules, fewer than a dozen workers have been called "glorified workshops". Most modern factories have large warehouses or warehouse-like facilities that contain heavy equipment used for assembly line production. Large factories tend to be located with access to multiple modes of transportation, with some having rail and water loading and unloading facilities. Factories may either make discrete products or some type of material continuously produced such as chemicals and paper, or refined oil products. Factories manufacturing chemicals are called plants and may have most of their equipment – tanks, pressure vessels, chemical reactors and piping – outdoors and operated from control rooms.
Oil refineries have most of their equipment outdoors. Discrete products may be final consumer goods, or parts and sub-assemblies which are made into final products elsewhere. Factories may make them from raw materials. Continuous production industries use heat or electricity to transform streams of raw materials into finished products; the term mill referred to the milling of grain, which used natural resources such as water or wind power until those were displaced by steam power in the 19th century. Because many processes like spinning and weaving, iron rolling, paper manufacturing were powered by water, the term survives as in steel mill, paper mill, etc. Max Weber considered production during ancient times as never warranting classification as factories, with methods of production and the contemporary economic situation incomparable to modern or pre-modern developments of industry. In ancient times, the earliest production limited to the household, developed into a separate endeavour independent to the place of inhabitation with production at that time only beginning to be characteristic of industry, termed as "unfree shop industry", a situation caused under the reign of the Egyptian pharaoh, with slave employment and no differentiation of skills within the slave group comparable to modern definitions as division of labour.
According to translations of Demosthenes and Herodotus, Naucratis was a, or the only, factory in the entirety of ancient Egypt. A source of 1983, states the largest factory production in ancient times was of 120 slaves within 4th century BC Athens. An article within the New York Times article dated 13 October 2011 states: "In African Cave, Signs of an Ancient Paint Factory" –... discovered at Blombos Cave, a cave on the south coast of South Africa where 100,000-year-old tools and ingredients were found with which early modern humans mixed an ochre-based paint. Although The Cambridge Online Dictionary definition of factory states: a building or set of buildings where large amounts of goods are made using machines elsewhere:... the utilization of machines presupposes social cooperation and the division of labour The first machine is stated by one source to have been traps used to assist with the capturing of animals, corresponding to the machine as a mechanism operating independently or with little force by interaction from a human, with a capacity for use with operation the same on every occasion of functioning.
The wheel was invented c. 3000 BC, the spoked wheel c. 2000 BC. The Iron Age began 1200–1000 BC. However, other sources define machinery as a means of production. Archaeology provides a date for the earliest city as 5000 BC as Tell Brak, therefore a date for cooperation and factors of demand, by an increased community size and population to make something like factory level production a conceivable necessity. According to one text the water-mill was first made in 555 A. D. by Belisarius, although according to another they were known to Pliny the Elder and Vitruvius in the first century B. C. By the time of the 4th century A. D. mills with a capacity to grind 3 tonnes of cereal an hour, a rate sufficient to meet the needs of 80,000 persons, were in use by the Roman Empire. The Venice Arsenal provides one of the first examples of a factory in the modern sense of the word. Founded in 1104 in Venice, Republic of Venice, several hundred years before the Industrial Revolution, it mass-produced ships on assembly lines using manufactured parts.
The Venice Arsenal produced nearly one ship every day and, at its height, employed 16,000 people. One of the earliest factories was John Lombe's water-powered silk mill at Derby, operational by 1721. By 1746, an integrated brass mill was working at Warmley near Bristol. Raw material went in at one end, was smelted into brass and was turned into pans, pins and other goods. Housing was provided for workers on site. Josiah Wedgwood in Staffordshire and Matthew Boulton at his Soho Manufactory were other prominent early industrialists, who employed the factory system; the factory system began widespread use somewhat when cotton spinning was mechanized. Richard Arkwright is the person credited with inventing the prototype of the modern factory. After he patented his water frame in 1769, he established Cromford Mill, in Derbyshire, England expanding the village of Cromford to accommodate the migrant workers new to the area; the factory system was a new way of organizing labour made necessary by the developm
Corliss steam engine
A Corliss steam engine is a steam engine, fitted with rotary valves and with variable valve timing patented in 1849, invented by and named after the American engineer George Henry Corliss of Providence, Rhode Island. Engines fitted with Corliss valve gear offered the best thermal efficiency of any type of stationary steam engine until the refinement of the uniflow steam engine and steam turbine in the 20th century. Corliss engines were about 30 percent more fuel efficient than conventional steam engines with fixed cutoff; this increased efficiency made steam power more economical than water power, allowing industrial development away from millponds. Corliss engines were used as stationary engines to provide mechanical power to line shafting in factories and mills and to drive dynamos to generate electricity. Many were quite large, standing many metres tall and developing several hundred horsepower, albeit at low speed, turning massive flywheels weighing several tons at about 100 revolutions per minute.
Some of these engines have unusual roles as mechanical legacy systems and because of their high efficiency and low maintenance requirements, some remain in service into the early 21st century. See, for example, the engines at the Hook Norton Brewery and the Distillerie Dillon in the list of operational engines. Corliss engines have four valves for each cylinder, with steam and exhaust valves located at each end. Corliss engines incorporate distinct refinements in both the valves themselves and in the valve gear, that is, the system of linkages that operate the valves; the use of separate valves for steam admission and exhaust means that neither the valves nor the steam passages between cylinders and valves need to change temperature during the power and exhaust cycle, it means that the timing of the admission and exhaust valves can be independently controlled. In contrast, conventional steam engines have a slide valve or piston valve that alternately feeds and exhausts through passages to each end of the cylinder.
These passages are exposed to wide temperature swings during engine operation, there are high temperature gradients within the valve mechanism. Clark commented that the Corliss gear "is a combination of elements known and used separately, affecting the cylinder and the valve-gear"; the origins of the Corliss gear with regard to previous steam valve gear was traced by Inglis. George Corliss received U. S. Patent 6,162 for his valve gear on March 10, 1849; this patent covered the use of a wrist-plate to convey the valve motion from a single eccentric to the four valves of the engine, it covered the use of trip valves with variable cutoff under governor control that characterize Corliss Engines. Unlike engines, most of which were horizontal, this patent describes a vertical cylinder beam engine, it used individual slide valves for admission and exhaust at each end of the cylinder; the inlet valves are pulled open with an eccentric-driven pawl. In many engines, the same dashpot acts as a vacuum spring to pull the valves closed, but Corliss's early engines were slow enough that it was the weight of the dashpot piston and rod that closed the valve.
The speed of a Corliss engine is controlled by varying the cutoff of steam during each power stroke, while leaving the throttle wide open at all times. To accomplish this, the centrifugal governor is linked to a pair of cams, one for each admission valve; these cams determine the point during the piston stroke that the pawl will release, allowing that valve to close. As with all steam engines where the cutoff can be regulated, the virtue of doing so lies in the fact that most of the power stroke is powered by the expansion of steam in the cylinder after the admission valve has closed; this comes far closer to the ideal Carnot cycle than is possible with an engine where the admission valve is open for the length of the power stroke and speed is regulated by a throttle valve. The Corliss valve gearing allowed more uniform speed and better response to load changes, making it suitable for applications like rolling mills and spinning, expanding its use in manufacturing. Corliss valves open directly into the cylinder.
The valves exhaust plenums. Corliss used slide valves with linear actuators, but by 1851, Corliss had shifted to semi-rotary valve actuators, as documented in U. S. Patent 8253. In this engine, the wrist plate was moved to the center of the cylinder side, as on Corliss engines; this was still a beam engine and the semi-rotary valve actuators operated linear slide valves inside the four valve chests of the engine. Corliss valves are in the form of a minor circular segment, rotating inside a cylindrical valve-face, their actuating mechanism is off along the axis of the valve, thus they have little "dead space" such as the stem of a poppet valve and the entire port area can be used efficiently for gas flow. As the area of a Corliss valve is small compared to the port area, the effects of gas flow generate little torque on the valve axle compared to some other sorts of valve; these advantages have led to the Corliss form of valve being used in other roles, apart from steam engines with Corliss gear.
The Rolls-Royce Merlin aero-engine used a rectangular butterfly valve as a throttle. Gas-flow forces acting asymmetrically on this butterfly could lead to poor control of the power in some circumstances. Late models, from the 134, used a Corliss throttle valve instead to avoid this problem. A common feature of large Corliss engines is one or two sets of narrow gear teeth in the rim of the flywheel; these teeth allow the flywheel to be barred, that is, turned with th
James Watt was a Scottish inventor, mechanical engineer, chemist who improved on Thomas Newcomen's 1712 Newcomen steam engine with his Watt steam engine in 1776, fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world. While working as an instrument maker at the University of Glasgow, Watt became interested in the technology of steam engines, he realised that contemporary engine designs wasted a great deal of energy by cooling and reheating the cylinder. Watt introduced a design enhancement, the separate condenser, which avoided this waste of energy and radically improved the power and cost-effectiveness of steam engines, he adapted his engine to produce rotary motion broadening its use beyond pumping water. Watt attempted to commercialise his invention, but experienced great financial difficulties until he entered a partnership with Matthew Boulton in 1775; the new firm of Boulton and Watt was highly successful and Watt became a wealthy man.
In his retirement, Watt continued to develop new inventions though none was as significant as his steam engine work. He developed the concept of horsepower, the SI unit of power, the watt, was named after him. James Watt was born on 19 January 1736 in a seaport on the Firth of Clyde, his father James Watt, was a shipwright, ship owner and contractor, served as the town's chief baillie, whilst his mother, Agnes Muirhead, came from a distinguished family and was well educated. Both were strong Covenanters. Watt's grandfather, Thomas Watt, was a mathematics teacher and baillie to the Baron of Cartsburn. Despite being raised by religious parents, he became a deist. Watt did not attend school regularly, he exhibited great manual dexterity, engineering skills and an aptitude for mathematics, while Latin and Greek failed to interest him. He is said to have suffered prolonged bouts of ill-health as a child; when he was eighteen, his mother died and his father's health began to fail. Watt travelled to London and was apprenticed as an instrument maker for a year returned to Scotland, settling in the major commercial city of Glasgow intent on setting up his own instrument-making business.
He made and repaired brass reflecting quadrants, parallel rulers, parts for telescopes, barometers, among other things. Because he had not served at least seven years as an apprentice, the Glasgow Guild of Hammermen blocked his application, despite there being no other mathematical instrument makers in Scotland. Watt was saved from this impasse by the arrival from Jamaica of astronomical instruments bequeathed by Alexander Macfarlane to the University of Glasgow, instruments that required expert attention. Watt was remunerated; these instruments were installed in the Macfarlane Observatory. Subsequently three professors offered him the opportunity to set up a small workshop within the university, it was initiated in 1757 and two of the professors, the physicist and chemist Joseph Black as well as the famed Adam Smith, became Watt's friends. At first he worked on maintaining and repairing scientific instruments used in the university, helping with demonstrations, expanding the production of quadrants.
In 1759 he formed a partnership with John Craig, an architect and businessman, to manufacture and sell a line of products including musical instruments and toys. This partnership lasted for the next six years, employed up to sixteen workers. Craig died in 1765. One employee, Alex Gardner took over the business, which lasted into the twentieth century. In 1764, Watt married his cousin Margaret Miller, with whom he had five children, two of whom lived to adulthood: James Jr. and Margaret. His wife died in childbirth in 1772. In 1777 he was married again, to Ann MacGregor, daughter of a Glasgow dye-maker, with whom he had two children: Gregory, who became a geologist and mineralogist, Janet. Ann died in 1832. Between 1777 and 1790 he lived in Birmingham. There is a popular story that Watt was inspired to invent the steam engine by seeing a kettle boiling, the steam forcing the lid to rise and thus showing Watt the power of steam; this story is told in many forms. James Watt of course did not invent the steam engine, as the story implies, but improved the efficiency of the existing Newcomen engine by adding a separate condenser.
This is difficult to explain to someone not familiar with concepts of heat and thermal efficiency. It appears that the story of Watt and the kettle was created by Watt's son James Watt Jr. and persists because it is easy for children to understand and remember. In this light it can be seen as akin to the story of Isaac Newton, the falling apple and his discovery of gravity. Although it is dismissed as a myth, like most good stories the story of James Watt and the kettle has a basis in fact. In trying to understand the thermodynamics of heat and steam James Watt carried out many laboratory experiments and his diaries record that in conducting these he used a kettle as a boiler to generate steam. In 1759 Watt's friend, John Robison, called his attention to the use of steam as a source of motive power; the design of the Newcomen engine, in use for 50 years for pumping water from mines, had hardly changed from its first implementation. Wat