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6069   James Watt Autograph Letter Signed  $1000 $5130 $5643 16 You must login to place a bid.
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#6069 - James Watt Autograph Letter Signed Estimate: $12,000+

Watt plans his steam-powered grist mill

British engineer (1736-1819) who developed an efficient steam engine which was a universal source of power and provided one of the most essential technological components of the early industrial revolution. The unit of power known as a 'watt' was named after him. ALS, one page, 8 x 10, September 5, 1784. Letter to musician and notable Watt benefactor Joah Bates, in full: "Having received from Mr. Brown the daily advertiser containing the address of the Millers committee in which I observe they have given me more honor than what I think belongs to me, and seem to direct their whole argument to the overthrowing our patent, on the supposition we have communicated our exclusive privilege to the company, I have thought it necessary to remove that imputation by a publick advertisement in the same paper, as we should be ruined could any legal advantage be got by them in that matter, and I cannot suppose that any of the Gentlemen concerned could wish us to be injured by our endeavours to advance the interests of the concern. I have desired Mr. Brown to bring the advertisement to you & to leave it with you for your consideration as I am by no means satisfied with the draught yet & do not wish it to be published untill I write again. And in the mean time I also wish you would turn your thoughts towards a proper answer on the part of the A. M. Company [Albion Mills]—I remain with best respects to Mrs. Bates & other friends." Addressed on the reverse of the second integral page in Watt's own hand. In fine condition, with a few light seal-related stains, and a repaired seal-related tear to the integral address leaf.

Watt discusses the opposition of traditional London grain millers to his Albion mill, the first grist mill to employ his improved steam engine. The mill, designed by architect Samuel Wyatt, was intended to relieve the increasing demand for flour in the rapidly growing metropolis. Although the new mill, constructed on the south bank of the Thames near Blackfriar's bridge, promised to reduce the price of bread substantially, it was not at all welcomed. The city's millers vehemently opposed the new concern, believing that it threatened their livelihood. The mill would be completed in 1786.

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