Lot 913: Watt, James



2015-09-16 14:11:46

Lot 913: Watt James: (1736-1819) Scottish Inventor & Mechanical Engineer. An Interesting D.S., James Watt, Four Pages, Folio, Heathfield, Near Birmingham, 23Rd July 1795. The Manuscript Document Is The 'Proposed Description For Mr Buc[Hanan'S] Specification In The Event Of His Obtaining H[Is] Majestys Letters Patent For A Pump Up[On] An Improved Construction…' And Describes In Detail The Uses And Construction Of The Pump, In Part, 'This Pump Like The Common Pump Acts By The Pressure Of The Atmosphere, But Differs From It In….Essential Particulars Which Constitute Its Excellence….The Water Is Discharged From This Pump….By Means Of A Valve….Which Is Situated In The Side….[Com]Municating With The Cistern….These Valves Need Not Be Confined To Any….Dimensions And Are Placed In An Inclined Posi[Tion] By Wh[Ich] Means Gravel Dirt Or Other Things Are Prevented From Lodg[Ing] In The Pump….This Pump May Be Occasionally Used As An….For Extinguishing Fire….These Are The Excellencies Which Distinguish This Pump But The Following Instructions In Regard To Construction Will More Fully Explain Its Nature….This Pump In Its Body And Parts May Be Made Of Wood, Copper, Cast Iron, Or Any Other Metal Or Material Suited….The Valves Best Suited To The Purposes Of This Pump Are Of The Kind Called Clack Valves….Because It Has Been Found That Where The Apertures Are Of This Shape The Valves Have Less Water At Each Shutting Than When The Apertures Are Of A Circular Form. The Valves May Be Made Of Any Metal But Brass Is Recommended As Least Apt To Rust - A Flat Piece Of Leather Is Fixed On The Under Part Of The Lid, Having A Piece Of Cork Interposed Between The Leather And The Lid To Render It More Elastic. The Lid Of Each Of The Valves Turns Upon Two Pivots, Which Have Freedom In Their Sockets To Rise A Little Upwards That Any Small Substance Which Happens To Intervene Near The Hinge May Not Prevent Any Part Of The Lid From Lying Close To The Box. The Bore Of The Lower Or Suction Pipe May Be Made Of Any Shape…For The Purpose Of Allowing A More Easy Passage To The Water And For The Better Discharge Of Oblong Pieces Of Wood And Other Things Which May Be Brought Up Along With The Water, The Bore Of The Suction Or Lower Pipe Should Receive A Bended Or Curved Form As It Approaches The Inner Valve So As To Make Its Ultimate Direction Nearly At Right Angles To The Inclined Position Of The Water Valves….' , And Continuing To Give The Particulars Of Outer Valves, Pistons, Brass Lined Barrels Etc., And Concluding 'Motion May Be Given To This Machine By Means Of The Common Brakes, Or By What Are Commonly Called Ball Ropes, Or By Ropes Led Horizontally From A Bended Lever, Or By Any Other Method Practiced In Working The Common Pump, Which It Resembles Excepting In The Particulars Above Stated. In Order To Render This Pump Occasionally Useful As An Engine For The Purpose Of Extinguishing Fire It Is Only Necessary To Make The Piston Air Tight In Descending As Well As In Ascending, And To Fix An Air Vessel Communicating With Pipes Made Of Leather Or Any Other Material Over The Cistern'. At The Conclusion Of Buchanan'S Text Watt Has Added A Holograph Statement, In Full, 'This Draft Of Mr. Buchanan'S Specifications Laid Before Me And Referred To In My Opinion Of This Date', Signing His Name And Adding The Place And Date In His Hand Immediately Beneath. A Further Statement Appears Beneath Watt'S, Signed By A Nicholas Smith, And Stating, In Full, 'This Paper Writing Was Produced And Shewn To Roobertson Buchanan And Is The Same Mentioned And Referred To In His Affidavit Sworn This 25 Day Of July 1795 Before Me'. Together With An Associated D.S., Roberston Buchan[An], One Page, Folio, Public Office, Symonds Inn, 25Th July 1795. The Manuscript Document States, In Part, 'Robertson Buchanan Engineer, And….Manager Of The Cotton Mills Or Rothsay Island Of Bute In That Part Of Great Britain Called Scotland Maketh Oath & Sayeth [That The] Annexed Description Is That Which He…Will Allude…Specification Of A Pump Invented By Him [In The] Event Of His Obtaining His Majestys Letter[S Patent] For The Sole Use, Benefit & Advantage Of [The] Invention'. Countersigned By Nicholas Smith As A Witness. With Integral Leaf. A Rare Document Of Good Content Relating To An Early Example Of A Fire Extinguisher. Each Of The Documents Have Been Professionally And Expertly Repaired At The Margins Where Originally Heavily Damp Stained (Some Purple Spotting Still Evident) And Suffering From Paper Loss (Affecting Some Words Of Text). Watt'S Own Bold Ink Signature And Holograph Statement Are, However, Largely Unaffected And Remain Entirely Legible. About G. Robertson Buchanan (1770-1816) Scottish Civil Engineer Whose Interests Spread From Mill Machinery To Pumps (As Illustrated By The Present Document) And Heating. As Well As Being Involved In Bridge Construction, In 1811 Buchanan Worked On An Early Railway Proposal In Scotland. The First Fire Extinguisher Of Which There Is Any Record Was Patented In England In 1723 By Ambrose Godfrey, A Celebrated Chemist Of The Time, And The Modern Fire Extinguisher Was Invented By Captain George William Manby In 1818. Buchanan'S Own Suggestions For A Fire Extinguisher, Based On A Pump, As Outlined In The Present Document, Falls In Between These Two Dates. International Autograph Auctions' Autograph Auction October 2015 Saturday, 3rd October 2015 Estimate: £1500-2000
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