Oldham Historical Research Group

William Rowbottom's Diary as published in the Oldham Standard


Watt First Tests the Power of Steam

Watt First Tests the Power of Steam

"There are many stories told of the boyhood of James Watt. He lived at Greenock on the River Clyde in Scotland., and was of a quiet, almost shy disposition, and delicate in health. He was fond of drawing and of studying mathematical problems, but rarely had much to say about his studies. The story goes that as he sat one evening at the tea-table with his aunt, Mrs. Muirhead, she said reprovingly to him, "James Watt, I never saw such an idle boy: take a book or employ yourself usefully; for the last hour you haven't spoken a word but taken off the lid of that kettle and put it on again, holding a cup or a silver spoon over the steam, watching it rise from the spout, and catching the drops it falls into. Aren't you ashamed of spending your time in this way?" And history goes on to presume that as the boy watched the bubbling kettle he was studiying the laws of steam and making it ready to put them to good use some day."

From: 'Historic Inventions' by Rupert S. Holland


Introduction link
Diary page links
Oldham at that time  - link

Gallery pages sourced & created by Sheila Goodyear.
William Rowbottom's Diary as published in the Oldham Standard - Transcribed by Mary Pendlbury & Elaine Sykes
Courtesy of Oldham Local Studies & Archives - Not to be reproduced without permission of Oldham Local Studies & Archives

Header photograph © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for re-use under the C.C. Licence.'Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0'

link to home page
Oldham in Gazetteers link
From the archives link
link to members' pages
link to News
link to miscellaneous pages
links page