James Watt (January 19th, 1736 - August 19th, 1819) was a Scottish engineer and inventor who made many improvements to the steam engine. These improvements were fundamental to the changes of everyday life during the Industrial Revolution.
Watt, the son of a merchant, was born in Greenock, Scotland, on January 19, 1736. As a boy, he was not a good student. However, at the age of 13, he began to study mathematics, and attracted much attention due to his skill. At the age of 18 he entered the University of Glasgow to learn to be a mathematical instrument maker. Watt left the school, but he returned in 1757 as the mathematical instrument maker for Glasgow. In 1764, the university sent him a model of the Newcomen steam engine. It immediately caught Watt's attention, and he became determined to build a practical one. Five years later, Watt patented his new steam engine in 1769. Watt became a member of the Royal Society and went on to make many more inventions.
He died at age 83 in Handsworth, Staffordshire on August 19th, 1819.