Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/151

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THE GROWTH OF THE STEAM-ENGINE.

an opening, out of which, before starting the engine, the air is driven from the cylinder and condenser.

37. In the building and erection of his engines, Watt had the greatest difficulty in finding skillful workmen to make the parts with accuracy, to fit them with skill, and to erect them properly when once finished.

The fact that both Newcomen and Watt found such serious trouble indicates that, even had the engine been designed earlier, it is quite unlikely that the world would have seen the steam-engine a success until this period, when mechanics were just acquiring the skill requisite for its construction. But, on the other hand, it is not at all certain that, had the mechanics of an earlier period been as skillful and as well educated in the manual niceties of their business, the steam-engine might not have been much earlier brought into use.

In the time of the Marquis of Worcester, it would have probably been found impossible to obtain workmen to construct the steam-engine of Watt, had it been then invented. Indeed, Watt, upon one occasion, congratulated himself that one of his steam-cylinders only lacked three-eighths of an inch of being truly cylindrical.

38. Pecuniary misfortunes soon deprived Watt of the assistance

PSM V12 D151 Matthew Boulton.jpg
Matthew Boulton

of his friend and partner Dr. Roebuck, but in 1773 he became connected with an intelligent, energetic, and wealthy manufacturer of Birmingham, Matthew Boulton. Thenceforward, the establishment