Boulton, Watt & Co/James Watt & Co Engineering Drawings

Archive Reference: 2018/70R

Three portfolios of original engineering drawings relating to Boulton, Watt and Co. and James Watt and Co. of Soho Foundry, Smethwick date from between 1800-1882. One folio of 20 drawings was donated to Smethwick Library prior to the founding of Sandwell Archives by Dr. W. Hackett, with the contents of such put on display as evidenced by the retained display cards. The origins of the other two folios, comprising a further 18 drawings, remains a mystery.

The drawings relate to engine and boiler houses installed at dockyards in Portsmouth, Gibraltar and Malta and both West India and St. Katharine Dockyards, London, aimed at keeping a consistent tide level, along with other detailed drawings of plant material ranging from crank shafts to fly wheels.

The draughtsmen responsible for the drawings are unknown but the provenance is unmistakably of the business retained and managed by the sons of original founders, Matthew Boulton and James Watt, who ask that the drawings are ‘…kept clean, not permitted to be copied and returned to them as soon as the engine is finished.’

With the main Boulton and Watt collection housed at Birmingham Archives, these drawings are a welcome addition to Sandwell’s archival heritage and complement a further modest collection of Boulton and Watt Drawings related to S.S. Great Eastern (Ref: xx/46).

– as selected by Rory, Archives Customer Service Officer