Why James Watt Totally Rocked

Sometimes I think about the kinds of wildly awesome engineers that bootstrapped humanity out of the simple life of the countryside, through the industrial revolution (and all engine revolutions that drove it), to now.  Of the bunch, James Watt sounds pretty awesome:

(historical “facts” via Wikipedia[1])

Watt was an enthusiastic inventor, with a fertile imagination that sometimes got in the way of finishing his works, because he could always see “just one more improvement”. He was skilled with his hands, and was also able to perform systematic scientific measurements that could quantify the improvements he made and produce a greater understanding of the phenomenon he was working with.

Watt was a gentleman, greatly respected by other prominent men of the Industrial Revolution. He was an important member of the Lunar Society, and was a much sought after conversationalist and companion, always interested in expanding his horizons. He was a rather poor businessman, and especially hated bargaining and negotiating terms with those who sought to utilize the steam engine. Until he retired, he was always much concerned about his financial affairs, and was something of a worrier. His personal relationships with his friends and partners were always congenial and long-lasting.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Watt

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