On Display

Model factory from Watt’s workshop

This model appears to have been a working tool to plan out a 'rational factory'. It contains 148 moveable walls and partitions.

Circular saws, 1758-1773

Watt's workshop contains three circular saw blades, which Watt used in manufacturing the fingerboards for violins.

Watt’s moulds – relics of a lost industry

Watt's workshop is an exceptionally rich source of surviving artists' moulds, many still tied up with ancient string.

Newly discovered bust of James Watt, 1807/2010

This bust comes from a plaster mould in Watt's workshop. A hitherto unknown view of the great engineer.

James Watt and the Steam Engine
'T Lot' punch, 1759–73

This rather rough-looking punch, found among Watt's tools, is marked 'T Lot', a celebrated French flute-maker who supplied the King.

Watt’s workshop

Watt's workshop is a historical time capsule - a complete physical record of the working life and interests of the renowned Scottish engineer.

‘Old Bess’ engine by Boulton & Watt, 1777

This is the oldest surviving engine built by Boulton & Watt and the second engine built at the Soho Manufactory, Birmingham.

Watt’s engine counter, c.1781

Watt designed this counter so his customers could be charged for the exact amount of work done.

Fragments of Watt’s rotary engine, 1782

Watt attempted to make an engine without a piston and cylinder, using pure rotary motion.