James Watt (inbunden)
Inbunden (Hardback)
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Reaktion Books
70 black & white
218 x 137 x 23 mm
613 g
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James Watt (inbunden)

James Watt

Making the World Anew

Inbunden, Engelska, 2014-07-01
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Among the many treasures in the collections of the Science Museum in London is the complete workshop of the Scottish engineer James Watt (1736-1819), acquired in its entirety from the attic of Watt's Birmingham home in 1924, where it had been left as an industrial shrine since his death in 1819. Watt is best known for his pioneering work on the steam engine, but the workshop contains very few engine-related items. Instead, it is filled with jars of chemicals, sculpture-copying machines and materials, a profusion of instruments and objects and evidence of Watt's many diverse projects. Traditional biographies of Watt have concentrated on the steam engine, but Ben Russell tells a richer story, exploring the processes by which ephemeral ideas were transformed into tangible artefacts and the multifaceted world of production upon which Britain's industrial revolution depended. James Watt: Making the World Anew is a craft history of Britain's early industrial transformation as well as a prehistory of the engineering profession itself.It explores the motivation for making things, looking not only at what was produced but also why, drawing on a rich range of resources - not just archival material and biographies on Watt but also objects themselves, and sources from fields as diverse as ceramics, antique systems of proportion, sculpture and machine making. Generously illustrated, James Watt is a unique, expansive exploration of the engineer's life, not as an end in itself but as a lens through which the broader practices of making and manufacturing in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries can be explored.
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"A compelling book that should be essential reading for anyone who is interested in investigating the origins of technological innovation."-- "ISIS" "Celebrated for his industrial inventions, Watt himself now belongs to Britain's heritage industry. Russell has provided a refreshingly original insight into the life and activities not only of this national hero, but also of his many less famous colleagues who together transformed traditional craftsmanship into industrial innovation."-- "British Journal for the History of Science" "Comprehensive and well-researched . . . generous and fascinating collection of illustrations. . . . With a sure touch, Ben Russell makes it clear that there was far more to Watt than steam and steam engines."-- "Methodist Recorder" "Many more examples could be given, such is the richness of this book, many more than can be mentioned in a short review. . . . Russell supports his ideas with copious references, both from the literature of Watt's own day, as well as others from scholars of today. These cover an enormous range of sources which strengthen Russell's arguments and compel us to think seriously about the themes he proposes."-- "International Journal for the History of Engineering & Technology" "Russell moves beyond the steam engine to look at Watt's many other pioneering inventions." -- "Observer" "The first engineer to be commemorated in Westminster Abbey, Watt was long celebrated as a heroic figure who arrived at his epochal discoveries by virtue of lonely genius. Russell helps correct that picture by celebrating Watt as a doer and a maker, rooted in the artisanal culture of his times. Steeped in scholarship, as well as nitty-gritty knowledge of the artefacts of the Industrial Revolution, James Watt: Making the World Anew will prove fascinating to anyone who wants to know how and why steam engines were made." -- "Times Literary Supplement" "In 1924, London's Science Museum acquired the entire workshop of engineer James Watt, left almost untouched in the attic of his house in Birmingham since his death more than a century before. The museum put a recreation of the workshop on permanent display in 2011. This workshop inspired Russell, the Science Museum's curator of mechanical engineering, to write his engaging James Watt: Making the World Anew. . . . The diversity of Watt's interests and activities was astonishing, even when compared with the achievements of his Enlightenment contemporaries." -- "Nature"

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Ben Russell is Curator of Mechanical Engineering at the Science Museum, London.