“The greatest and most useful man who ever lived.”


James Watt is the Scottish engineer and inventor who changed the world. His improvements to the steam engine drove the Industrial Revolution. His success was so great that a unit of power was named a Watt in his honour.

The year 2019 marks the 200th anniversary of Watt’s death and the 250th anniversary of Watt’s patent (to use a separate condenser to improve the efficiency of a steam engine).

This website reflects on his life and legacy, highlights areas to visit and shows how Watt is still making the news centuries after his death.

We’re also highlighting events celebrating Watt’s achievements, taking place in 2019, as details are confirmed. Event organisers can also tell us about their own celebratory events.

James Watt's signature