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Full steam ahead for James Watt exhibition.


An exhibition dedicated to the life, work and legacy of Scottish engineer and inventor James Watt has opened at the Engine Shed in Stirling.

The event celebrates the 250th anniversary of his invention of the condenser engine.

The exhibition focuses on James Watt's improvements to the steam engine and features historic artefacts including what might be an example of William Murdoch's locomotive - on loan from The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum.

On display for the first time since 2000, the locomotive is a replica of what is thought to be an experimental steam carriage created by Murdoch in defiance of James Watt's 1782 patent.

Also showcased are Cartwheel pennies, and a sign from Kinneil House, Bo'ness, where James Watt developed his prototype steam engine.

The George III Cartwheel penny, dated 1797, was the first copper penny to be circulated in Britain and the first coin in England to be minted on a steam powered press, developed by James Watt and Matthew Boulton The sign exhibited is a painted copper alloy plaque from an engine cylinder at Kinneil House.

Visitors can discover the impact James Watt's invention had on Britain's industry and engineering, which is still evident today.

The Engine Shed, run by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), serves as a central hub for building and conservation professionals and the general public.

Mark Watson, deputy head of industrial heritage at HES, said: "This exhibition shines a spotlight on Scotland's ground-breaking inventor while looking at the impact of his work from the industrial revolution to climate change. The intriguing miniature locomotive gives an insight into the earliest experimental road vehicles, and we're delighted to bring it back into public view for the first time in 19 years.

"We hope to showcase James Watt's global significance to a new audience and demonstrate how his work continues to influence the world today, 200 years after his death."

'James Watt: Power to the World' is free, 10am-4pm Monday to Saturday until August 23.

The Engine Shed's programme up until September also includes a series of free master builder events on the fourth Saturday of each month, encouraging families to get hands-on with the skills used to conserve Scotland's traditional buildings by using materials such as stone, earth, fired earth, metal and lime. There are also events for 'wee builders' aimed at under fives. On the second Saturday of the month, throughout the year, young people with autism can explore the conservation centre with relaxed lighting and sound adjustments, and a quiet space with sensory toys.



EngineeringReplica of what is thought to be experimental steam carriages created by William Murdoch in defiance of James Watt's 1782 patent

Display Vanesa Gonzalez with plaque from Kinneil House. And below, a George III Cartwheel penny, dated 1797, was the first copper penny to be circulated in Britain and the first coin in England to be minted on a steam powered press

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Publication:Stirling Observer (Stirling, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 1, 2019
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