James Watts (1736-1819) was a Scottish inventor. He made improvements on the steam engine, improvements that laid the foundation for the industrial revolution and ushered in our age.
Watt did not discover the steam engine, others before him did, but he figured out a way to incorporate latent heat in running engines.
He not only improved steam engines but also mass produced them thereby making them readily available to those who desired them.
His engines were used for pumps and produced reciprocating motion. With encouragement from Boulton, Watt improved his engine further and found a way to convert the reciprocating motion of the pistons to produce rotational power for grinding, weaving and milling.
Apparently, another person held the patent on cranks, a mechanism that would have improved the engine further, but Watts could not bridge the patent law and his engine for a while lacked in what would have made it easier to operate.
Watt made other improvements to his steam engine. Nevertheless, there always was the risk that the boilers could explode and hurt, or even kill those around the engine, and given that probability some persons opposed Watts’s efforts to develop a high pressure steam engine.
Andrew Carnegie. James Watts. (1913)